Auburn Hills Gets Into Halloween Spirit

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Right now, hundreds of trick-or-treaters in Auburn Hills are gearing up for the big event.  As kids canvas the neighborhoods tonight, they will be greeted by some scary (and fun) scenes.  Our residents never fail to come up with creative (and creepy) outdoor décor.

Here’s one display we saw on Adams Road.

Skeletons...playing poker?

A skeleton party…


A dapper gentleman with his dog

A dapper gentleman with his dog


Pass by the pups...only if you dare!

Pass by the pups…only if you dare!


Try to navigate this scene in the dark!

Try to navigate this scene in the dark!

Trick-or-treating is allowed from 6:00pm to 7:00pm this evening.  Keep an eye out for our little goblins for a safe and Happy Halloween!

A Student For The Day At Auburn Hills University

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We wanted to share a few photos from yesterday’s Auburn Hills University (AHU) class led by the Community Development Department.

AHU is a six month team-building program that gathers a small group of City employees, one day a month, to learn what each City Department does.  This year, I have the privilege of being a student in AHU’s 9th class!

The class received a behind the scenes tour from our friends at SEALIFE Aquarum

The class received a behind the scenes tour from our friends at Michigan SEALIFE Aquarium

Learned about residential construction inspection at the new Mosaic project at the southeast corner of Baldwin and Collier

Visited the new Mosaic apartment development at the southeast corner of Baldwin and Collier

Learned what Building staff look for when performing their inspections

Learned what Building staff check when performing inspections

It was a fun and informative experience for all of us.

Dad’s Day

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

This coming Sunday, June 19th, is Father’s Day.  Dating back to a 1912 celebration of a Civil War veteran who was a widower who raised his six children in Spokane, Washington, it didn’t become an official national holiday until 1972.  Originally many men opposed the holiday because it “degraded their masculinity” and, often, became their responsibility to pay for the presents their family gave them.  Now, it is regarded as a day to remember and acknowledge the most important man in all of our lives, Dad.

Happy Fathers Day

The eternal question is: “what the heck do I get the old guy?” Unless he’s some sort of fashion maven, forget “the tie.”  A good rule of thumb is to ask what interests, hobbies or little pleasures your father has.  My dad, Al, (may he rest in peace,) had a crazy sweet tooth.  Sanders Mint Smoothies were always a sure bet.  But some chocolate covered strawberries ordered on-line would work great if your dad loves that sugar.

If dad enjoys a snort now and then, a bottle or case of his favorite potent potable would work.  Facial hair?  Why not a new beard/mustache trimmer.  It may be gross but one of the best gifts I got from my lovely daughters was an ear/nose hair trimmer.

If dad is an outdoorsman, a trip to one of the big box sporting goods stores could score you ammo, fishing flies or boots.  If he’s a reader, obviously a book on a subject you know interests him.  If a movie buff, there are plenty of DVD’s or Blue Rays to choose from.  (I recommend “The Revenant.”)

It doesn’t have to be a gift.  Cook him his favorite meal or take him out to his favorite restaurant.  Take him to a ball game.  (Maybe at the new “Jimmy John’s” stadium in Utica.)

The main thing is to remember his day and make it a day he will remember as well.  To all dads, step-dads and grandpas have a happy Father’s Day.

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

My father loved history and musical theater.  He made it a point to introduce these passions to me in the years before he passed away.  So, I was intrigued when the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Hamilton was introduced last year.  I recently downloaded the musical’s soundtrack because the lyrics bring this time in America’s history to life for me … it also connects me to my dad.  He would have loved to see Hamilton.  I hope to make the pilgrimage to New York City with my wife to experience the show someday.

In the final act, after Alexander Hamilton dies, the entire cast comes together to sing the song “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”  This song explains to the audience what happens to all the remaining characters.  It explores their legacy and leaves the characters asking if they had done enough to have lived a worthy life.

Cast of the musical Hamilton (photo credit Joan Marcus)

Cast of the musical Hamilton (Photo credit: Joan Marcus)

In my mind, I think of what the leaders of the City of Auburn Hills (our cast) have been doing to address the cards the community was dealt as the result of the Great Recession.  The challenge of our time.  Such as,

  • Loss of a staggering $2.3 billion in true cash property value (2006-2014) due to the required lowering of property assessments based on the market’s decline
  • The resulting 37% decrease in the City’s taxable property value, which is the value the City primarily generates revenue to operate and provide essential services like police, fire, utilities, and roads
  • Loss of industrial personal property tax, with no certain replacement
  • Unfavorable Michigan Tax Tribunal decisions and the insanity of the “Dark Store” phenomenon

It’s like flying a plane and having one of your engines go out when you least expect it.  You must remain calm, land the plane safely, and get the engine fixed so that you can fly again.

Well, Auburn Hills has landed the plane safely and we have been fixing the engine.  We have found that most didn’t even know the plane was in trouble, since they’ve seen little decline in their services.  Also, property values have bounced back and the economy is healthier, but most don’t know that this recovery has not translated into revenue growth for the City since Michigan law caps it.  Under these restraints, the City can’t “grow its way out” and recover the tax base lost during the economic downturn – although we have tried.  No Michigan community is immune to this struggle.

Fortunately, the City Council has had the foresight to see that the status quo will become unsustainable over time.  With the support of City Manager Tanghe and staff, the Council has methodically made some difficult decisions over the years to stabilize the finances of our community … and will continue to do so.  Recently, the Council authorized a Fire Department millage election, which will take place on August 2, 2016.  It’s a critical step forward in securing a strong future for the City.

Like the cast of Hamilton, it’s our hope that future generations in Auburn Hills will remember this time in history and tell our story of resilience.

The United Nations Of Auburn Hills

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

A couple of business buzz phrases these days are “global economy” and “multi-national corporations”.  Auburn Hills reflects those concepts throughout its corporate and business entities.  From Fiat-Chrysler to Takata Corporation, many international corporations have locations in this city.

One graphic example of this internationalism is the display of national flags in front of local corporate buildings.  For example:

Photo 1 Rigaku

Rigaku at 1900 Taylor flies the Japanese flag, along with the U.S. and Michigan state flags.

Photo 2 Denmark - no lp

Syncreon at 2551 High Meadow has the interesting combination of the Irish and Danish flags.

Photo 3 China Germany

Henniges at 2750 High Meadow has the best collection.  Included are the banners of Canada, China, Philippines, U.S., Germany and Mexico.  (When the photo was taken they were at half-staff due to the terrorist attack in Brussels the day before.)

Photo 4 USA

My favorite, however, is the largest flag I’ve seen in Auburn Hills, the Stars and Stripes in front of RGIS at 2000 Taylor.

Flying these international flags is one way Auburn Hills can salute the many nations that contribute to the commerce of the city and the nation.

Moving From The Couch To Participating In A 5K Race?

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Have you ever wanted to participate in a 5K race, but don’t know how to prepare?  Better yet, do you just want to get off the couch and go after a goal?  Well, here’s a great opportunity.

The City of Auburn Hills has partnered with Sue Barnes at Socially Motivated Wellness LLC to design and administer an eight week run/walk training program for those interested.  Her specialized training utilizes an interval method of conditioning, which is devised to lessen the chance of injury.  Using this technique, just about anyone can take part in the program.

Coach Sue Barnes

Coach Sue Barnes

You can do this!  Participants will be placed in groups with others that move at their same pace.  With a group, you will have the motivation and encouragement needed to complete the training.  Groups will meet once a week – Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. or Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. – for instruction and a workout, which will help build endurance.

This excellent program is set to begin on Thursday, June 23rd.  But, you will have to sign-up before that time, so watch for an announcement in the City’s upcoming Summer Newsletter.  Feel free to e-mail Recreation Coordinator Mikey Gorak at for more information.

Hey, this opportunity may be that push you needed!  It may change your life.

DPW: Our Snow Warriors

Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer

A couple of winters ago, I wrote a blog entitled Our Snow Angels.  Back then, I reported how the hard-working people at the Auburn Hills Department of Public Works clear the ice and snow from our streets with little fanfare or attention.  Since Tuesday and Wednesday’s storm, I thought I would revisit the topic and spoke to Dan Brisson, the DPW’s Manager of Roads and Fleet, about how his crews cleared the City.


Dan stated that 35 to 40 personnel began working around 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  At 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning the snow stopped and that was when (as Dan said) DPW went into “full scale attack.”  At their disposal were ten dump trucks, four pickups, two pickups dedicated to municipal parking lots, and a broom truck for sidewalks.  They worked all through the night and until 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

One fact that Dan brought up was news to me, that DPW uses an anti-icing agent (much like the de-icers used on planes at the airports) prior to plowing.  This helps reduce the buildup of ice that is then trapped under the snow, making for treacherous driving.  It also acts as a sort of “Teflon” to make the plowing easier.  As Dan put it, DPW “MacGyver’ed” two trucks with parts and equipment found around the DPW garage and now have two de-icing trucks capable of handling 32-lane miles of streets.

We all hope that this past storm was winter’s last hurrah, but rest assured that if Ol’ Man Winter rears his ugly head again the personnel of DPW will be prepared.  They’ll be ready to take it on again with their standard equipment and a few secret weapons.

I’m thinking that “Snow Angels” is a little wimpy.  Let’s call them our “Snow Warriors.”

Thanks to you all.