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Mayor's Column

by Novi Mayor David B. Landry





April 2011

The census numbers are now in. In the last 10 years, Novi’s population has increased 16.5%. We are currently at a population of 55,224 people.

What do these numbers mean? What kind of growth have we experienced? The answer is we have experienced long term growth and diversity in both our population and our tax base. The harsh lesson being learned by cities in the Midwest in the 20th Century is that any city dependent upon one type of industry, i.e. manufacturing, will at some point suffer. Nothing is forever. Certainly, nothing in the business world anyway. Those who stand still will eventually be passed by.

The second lesson we learned from the end of the 20th Century is the importance of globalization to our continued economic survival. The world has flattened. Outsourcing to Asia, India and Mexico is a current reality. Outsourcing to all parts of the world is the future.

In the next 10 years, how will Novi be positioned? Are we capable of being the location for North American headquarters for global companies? Can we attract business investments from Asia, India, Central and South America as well as Europe? That depends on the environment we create in Novi. That depends on the cultural opportunities and educational system available in Novi as well as the willingness and ability to not only be a potential home to a global population but more importantly to be a welcoming environment to the world. If people and businesses can afford to locate anywhere they will ultimately locate where they feel welcome and I am not talking about a plastic smile and a tax abatement. I’m talking about a genuine welcome. An invitation to be part of the future of this community.

How have we done in this regard? Let’s look at the census numbers. Okay, so we grew in population by 16.5%. Who are they? In the last 10 years our Asian population has almost doubled. Our Hispanic population has likewise grown by 67%. Our African American population has quadrupled. Novi’s total population is now 15.9% Asian, 8.1% African American and 3% Hispanic. One of every four residents is a non-Caucasian. That is clearly diversity in growth.

In 2010 alone Novi saw $23,000,000 added to its tax base. Again, comprised of what? 51% commercial and industrial, 49% residential. That is balanced tax base growth evenly split between residential and non-residential growth. That means businesses are moving to Novi and people are moving to Novi.

Novi is currently the North American home to businesses from Japan, Mexico, Korea, India, Germany, Canada and the US of A. Of the top 10 Novi taxpayers in the year 2000, all 10 are still here and still paying taxes. However, four have been knocked out of the top 10 by new businesses. Therefore, big business is moving to Novi.

Here are some other numbers - in the last 10 years our Part A crimes (severe crimes) have decreased 33% and our Part B crimes have decreased 49%! All the while our tax millage rate of 10.5416 has remained the same for the last 12 years! Standard & Poors has given Novi a bond rating that is given to only the top 5% of all municipalities nationwide. Our city auditors reported last fall, “This is the best opinion a municipality can receive.” Moreover, the University of Michigan Center for Innovative Research commented that, “The City of Novi is part of an elite group of Michigan communities helping understand and share efforts that foster entrepreneurship and encourage business development.”

It is these kinds of statistics that tell the world “Novi Welcomes You.” It is a handshake with a heartbeat. It is balanced, diverse, fiscally responsible, long term growth. We are positioning our community for the 21st Century global marketplace. It is so much more than simply growing by 16.5%.

Mayor David B. Landry, City of Novi