Outgoing councilman Ravi Yalamanchi thanks Rochester Hills residents for the opportunity to serve

Thank You!

Councilman Ravi Yalamanchi

Councilman Ravi Yalamanchi

It has truly been an honor to serve as a city council member these last eight years. I want to thank the residents of Rochester Hills, especially from District 1, for providing me with this opportunity. With my neighbors and fellow Hills residents in mind, I have done my best to lead with trust, honesty, and integrity.  This journey gave me the chance to get to know so many wonderful individuals and families and develop relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I cannot stress enough how fortunate I feel to have represented such an amazing group of people. Never, during my tenure, have I received a derogatory email or phone call from any resident. Even when there was disagreement with my thought process or actions residents who have called or emailed on those issues were extremely courteous.

I want to thank all the Department Directors and city staff for their dedication and commitment to the city and their willingness to listen to my thoughts on the workings of the city and sharing their own thoughts. It was truly a wonderful experience getting to know them and  I truly believe that as a city, we are fortunate to have such dedicated staff.

I feel lucky to be able to say that I have been part of a collective effort in preserving and enhancing the quality of life in City of Rochester Hills. It was a good journey. My predecessors on the council and previous Mayors have done an exemplary job in creating a remarkable city that we all enjoy today. I have immense respect for them and in my time on the council, I worked to ensure my actions were value add. Being on council meant working with individuals of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Thanks to all my colleagues on the council and the Mayor who have worked with me and been willing to engage in productive discussion. Sadly, we lost a colleague Marty Brennan who was passionate about the city and loved what he did.

Beginning from the first major vote I had to cast in December 2005 on whether to build a new DPS facility to the last decision I will be making at the last council meeting in November 2013, I have always voted as an independent with a clear conscience. It was and will continue to be important to me to thoroughly educate myself on an issue to make an informed decision that benefits the community. For me, even if it was a single person who expressed a concern, it was my responsibility to pay attention and address it to the best of my ability.

I have advocated for residents’ concerns and never hesitated to take a strong stance – whether it was voting against tax increases for residents and a budget that failed to address key issues like local road reconstruction; outsourcing 911-dispatch to the County saving the city $800,000 a year; amending city charter to move the accounting department from the Clerk’s office to the Finance Department; initiated the ballot proposal with residents to amend the charter for preservation of parks; city wide trash hauling services without adding any additional burden to the city operations and no additional tax to the residents, and promoting recycling; opposing expansion of Tienken Road to five lane between Sheldon and Livernois; tax incentives to support existing businesses and attract new businesses into our community; opposing the development of water reservoirs due to lack of a business case, and opposing the development in the parks; recapturing expiring millages and repurposing those for local roads, changing the status of Van Hoosen Museum as a non-profit private entity. I was firmly opposed to any tax raises and when the police millage was placed on the ballot in 2012, I clearly communicated to residents through my newsletter that the millage was an increase. Today, it stands to be true that it is an increase and hopefully the new council and the Mayor will not use the approval of the ballot by the residents as an opportunity to raise taxes in the future.

As a council member, fiduciary responsibility was one of my primary goals to ensure the sustainability and long term fiscal health of our city. I remember distinctly in 2007 when efforts were being made again to ask the residents for a tax increase, I made a presentation to the council on declining economy and the negative impact of additional taxes on families with uncertain incomes. While I took on strong criticism at the time from other council members and the Mayor, the 2008 financial crisis became our own city’s reality within a year and no “I told you so” could change that. While I felt it was very challenging to continuously advocate for fiscal responsibility and the need to provide public services by increasing efficiencies and containing costs the impressive thing was over the years the Council, Mayor and the City staff, have come together and achieve the goal of continuously creating surplus budgets and not raise any taxes. Today the city carries an impressive fund balance of over $100 million in different funds, including $28 million in General Fund. It is time the city uses these fund balances to invest in local roads.

During my tenure, I have also maintained my passion for many quality of life issues in the city, such as, the Green Space, OPC, Youth Assistance, Trailways, Van Hoosen Museum and Historic District preservation. I hope to stay engaged with those issues as I move forward.

One of my goals was to keep an open line of communication with residents and as part of that effort, I maintained a website, sent newsletters, and responded to phone calls and emails in less than 24 hours. I hope my communications were helpful and educational and I helped to build a culture of transparency in the council.

The term limits in our city charter is one that I appreciate and believe in it. While I will miss being on the council the new members coming in will bring new ideas, new thinking and new approaches to old and new challenges. I am confident that they will continue to preserve the city in its current form and make it better for future generations to come.

When I began my first term on the council, my daughter was just about to start high school and now she is in graduate school. My hair was darker and thicker and the wrinkles when I smile were not so evident. Time flies when you are having fun. It has been a great privilege to serve you over the last several years and I want to thank you again for allowing me and my family to be a part of your lives.

Ravi Yalamanchi

Twitter: @raviyalamanchi

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at [email protected].

Comments

  1. Ravi Yalamanchi is among the most honorable councilman we have ever had. He is unswayed by the politics and thinks only about Rochester Hills and the people he was elected to serve, in the here and now. Hope he can take a break and come back and run again. He will be missed as will his willingness to break from the pack to do what’s right. Thank you Ravi. Sorry it took me so long to see what was there all along.

Speak Your Mind

*