Tag Archives: david scurto

Leaders’ shared vision inspires Center Line development plan

Center Line DDA

Photo by David Lewinski

The city of Center Line has revived its downtown development authority and refocused its tax increment financing (TIF) in a placemaking initiative to attract businesses that serve nearby workers and young people to its tidy blocks of affordable houses.

“The first challenge is getting the willpower and getting a champion,” said CWA’s Dave Scurto in this January 21 Metromode article. “Center Line has overcome this fantastically. Everybody’s working together with the same vision and message. The mayor and the council understand the business community.”

The article features the Center Line city manager/DDA director and the mayor and their plans for a façade improvement program, gateway signage, enhanced wayfinding, streetscape maintenance and online marketing.

Dave compared the initiative to the city of Riverview’s successful plan to acquire a faded shopping center and redevelop it into a medical complex.

We serve our profession as speakers and educators

Carlisle/Wortman experts often serve as speakers and panelists for professional associations and train planning commissioners and zoning board members.

  •  Sally Elmiger spoke on a panel at the Michigan Barn Preservation Network’s annual conference.
  • John Enos, Dave Scurto and Ben Carlisle taught two different classes on roles and responsibilities for the Michigan Municipal League’s newly-elected officials academy
  • John presented a workshop on planning and zoning to the Southgate Board of Zoning Appeals and Southgate Planning Commission
  • Ben presented a workshop to the City of Linden Downtown Development Authority and an advanced workshop on redevelopment to the City of Oak Park Planning Commission and planning staff.
  • CWA was one of the sponsors of the Michigan Association of Planning Student Conference on Jan 31.

Contracting for department management? Four tips to smooth the transition

By Dave Scurto

When municipal leaders think about ways to deliver services more efficiently and economically, they often consider contract services. While reducing dollar costs they also must take care to manage the human costs.

The public staff understandably fears a total takeover. They need to be reassured. At the same time, the contracting firm needs to move quickly and decisively.

My career has spanned greater than a quarter century. During this time, especially over the past 10 years, I’ve stepped into contract positions in cities and townships or led a team that took over management of a department. I’ve seen that acceptance and trust must be quick for positive results to happen. The city manager, township supervisor or department director play a key role.

Here are some small steps that go a long way to easing the transition to a department managed by a private company.

  1.  Alleviate fears of a total city takeover early on. Send an e-mail describing who the contractors are and their responsibilities. Give them a personality with names and brief background description.
  2. Invite the director of the contract staff to department director meetings. This may jump-start the familiarization process.
  3.  Invite the contract staff to informal celebrations and lunches. Municipal staff can see that they are human with kids, hobbies and activities.
  4.  A manager, supervisor or former department director must stay vigilant that a former municipal employee rehired by the new company answers to that company’s rules and procedures.  Interference may confuse that person resulting in a challenge and slowing progress.

Here’s a link from a newspaper article painting a picture of success when a private company and municipality, the City of Riverview, closely work together.

For more information, contact Dave Scurto at dscurto@cwaplan.com.