By Mike Kruzman /

Brighton’s pandemic-era mayor has delivered his State of the City address.

Shawn Pipoly completed his two-year term as Mayor, on Monday, delivering his address before stepping down from the seat to allow new leadership to step up. Councilman Kris Tobbe was selected to succeed Pipoly, who is a 12-year member of City Council.

Pipoly said that it was an honor to be elected as mayor in 2019 and spoke glowingly of City Staff, saying it didn’t take long for him to realize in his new position that he had underrated their quality. Pipoly said, “I thought we had the best people to do the unheralded duties to provide our residents and businesses with everything they need and require and expect. I was wrong and I apologize for this. They are so much better than the best. They are the benchmark for what a municipality or even a business needs to succeed to be profitable. If I were a coach, they’d all be wearing a ‘number 12’ and have (Tom) Brady’s name on the back.”

Pipoly said it didn’t take long for things to jump the tracks and get intense, and recounted the hours following the governor’s decision in March of 2020 to shut down the state. Within 2 hours, Pipoly said he received calls from the Fire Chief, Police Chief, and City Manager, with information that they all had established and implemented health and safety protocols for their staff and the public. When his next 3 calls were from State Senator Lana Theis, State Representative Ann Bollin, and U.S. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, Pipoly said this helped him respond with confidence that they were already implementing the necessary safety measures and would be able to adapt as needed as things may change. It was around this time, Pipoly said, that suddenly realized he had become a “full-time mayor.”

Pipoly reflected on the grim financial outlook the City faced coming out of the Great Recession and how difficult budget decisions had to be made. Now, as housing values and commercial investments continue to rise, Pipoly said there is a much more positive outlook in their finances. An improved bond rating has allowed them to save money on interest rates while bonding for major projects and needed equipment. The voter-approved millage for street projects in the northwest neighborhood, and on Alpine, Third Street, and Fairway Trails is a year ahead of schedule. With some police department retirements looming, Pipoly talked about the need for hiring in advance of that in order to maintain numbers. Finally, Pipoly said that for the past 5 years now, they have closed the books with a budget surplus, with this past year’s coming in at $800,000. He called that a “great success.”

Pipoly concluded, thanking everybody for their support over the past two years, calling it a privilege to have been their mayor.