Troy looks forward to leaving 2020 behind

TROY — In her first “State of the City” address, Mayor Robin Oda summed up her feelings for 2020 in two words — “2020 sucked.”

At the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce annual address at the Bravo Room, Oda was candid about her first year in office.

“There was no forewarning or training for what 2020 held in store for our community,” Oda said. “My first as mayor was unprecedented and a challenge for sure.”

Oda thanked former Mayor Michael Beamish for his help as she made the transition from an at-large council member for eight years, but she said no amount of training or insight could prepare for her to lead a city through a global pandemic and a midnight F0 tornado in January.

Ten days into her first term, Troy experienced a “freak winter tornado” with 100 buildings damaged, some of which are still undergoing restoration. No lives or injuries were reported. She also thanked Pat and Thom Robinson for their gift to establish “Trees for Troy” to help replant the many trees lost in the city from the tornado.

Oda thanked all the city staff for their help in the clean-up efforts following the January 2020 tornado.

Just a few weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation and then the world.

Oda said all city services continued thanks to all of the “amazing dedicated employees” at the city.

Oda said city staff made adjustments like moving to online video conferences and using larger spaces to conduct businesses without interruption. Oda shared while community events like the Troy Strawberry Festival were canceled, the city continued to offer quality of life activities such as keeping Miami Shores Golf Course and the Troy Aquatic Park open to the public — albeit with lower capacity, a shortened season for the pool and modified equipment at the course. She also commended the committees of those who helped put on the Fourth of July parade and fireworks on the calendar as well as hosting the annual Christmas tree lighting in downtown Troy in November.

“(The year) 2020 in short was a challenging year,” said Oda, who shared how city staff had to cut their budgets for 2021 and maintain services without cutting any jobs.

Oda said Troy is “blessed” to have many partnerships to offer something to every Troy resident.

“(The year) 2021 is still providing challenges … that we continue to navigate carefully, but with promise,” Oda said. “City of Troy is moving forward and I hope our state government will get on board quickly. Open up the state and let people get back to their lives, their jobs and their educations. Our employers need it, our citizens need it and our educators and our students need it. 2020 will not be missed. We said good-bye to it and we’re moving on. We do celebrate the positives that came out of that year. We look forward to the positives of 2021 …”

Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington highlighted the city’s budget and how it weathered the pandemic without cutting any staff, layoffs or major interruptions to city services. Titterington shared how the city continued to make progress on city projects, although they had to defer some projects to this year. Titterington said the city has 106 projects they are managing through this year.

“Staff has been diligent. We have had to make a lot of adjustments in how we provide the services. We’ve tried to provide the same level of service no matter how we had to serve you,” Titterington said. “We continue to do what we can and we think we’ll come out of 2021 stronger and we have exciting things coming up in the next few years.”