The Craig Fahle Show

Allen Park Mayor Bill Matakas On City Services, Finances and Pigeon Racing

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Photo courtesy of Michigan Radio

Craig speaks with Allen Park Mayor William "Bill" Matakas. Matakas, who was first elected in 2011, sits down to discuss what’s happening in his community and the issues facing city residents. For some suburban communities, it can seem as though life plugs on. However, Allen Park went all in on an idea for a movie studio during the height of Michigan’s buzzing film incentives a few years ago. Matakas tells Craig about the aftermath of that decision.

When the studio failed, elected officials asked the state to intervene, and that’s when Emergency Manager Joyce Parker stepped in. “It has dramatically changed the quality of life, “ Matakas says of life in Allen Park under Parker’s management, in some ways for the better, but in others for the worse. While she came into the community with managerial experience in Ecorse and Highland Park, Matakas explains that Parker came to Allen Park under a different act than the one she currently is operating under.

“It gives her much more control, before she was essentially a financial person, but when you take operational control,” Matakas says that eight city departments are all reporting to her now. “That’s a big difference,” he says of the legislative change.

Matakas also tells Craig that major cuts in city staffing have resulted in the slowing down of city services in Allen Park.

“Things were well maintained, and we’re trying to get back there. We’ve gone from 170 employees to 80, so you don’t cut all those people out and expect city services to stay the same,” Matakas tells Craig. He also tells Craig about the unique legislation surrounding pigeon racing in the community. According to Matakas, it’s one more thing he never expected spending time on.

--Annamarie Sysling