DAVISON — Mayor Tim Bishop gave his State of the City address for the eighth time following a year he said no one could have predicted.
Bishop talked about how the city offices, local businesses and the general public had suffered through COVID-19 in 2020, while taking the opportunity to criticize Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for some of her decisions over the past year.
“The ripple effect of this will go on for years,” said Bishop. “Our governor made decisions that hurt a strong, robust economy we were enjoying, and it will take time to recover.”
He said the revenue from state shared pots will be “awfully thin” as many communities have the same needs and goals as Davison does. He said now is the time to tighten the city’s financial belt and make do with whatever the state gives the city in the end.
He said rebound and growth will be the key to overcoming the adversities brought on by COVID-19 and recognized the new city council, more than half of its members elected in November, saying the young council will have challenges ahead.
“This group will make decisions with parameters never seen and be counted on to fiscally navigate the city as we recover,” said Bishop. “It won’t be easy, but just the fact that each one of you has basically volunteered your time thus far shows the community you are willing to accept that challenge.”
Looking back at 2020, Bishop said he feels the city “slowed down” instead of “shut down” during the pandemic and executive orders from the governor, many of which he said were deemed unlawful, are now starting to loosen, and soon he said the city will be back to what is considered “normal.”
At city hall, he said the slow down did not keep city business from moving forward. He said the staff had to adjust constantly to changing orders and policies.
“Adapting has become key in their jobs,” said Bishop. “At some points the rules changing every other day with each press conference (by the governor).”
With the slow down at the city in 2020, some projects were pushed to the side, he said, adding those plans will be moving ahead in 2021.
“With things already in the works for 2021 as far as upgrades and improvements to city streets and staffing. I look forward to seeing us totally emerge from this experience,” said Bishop.