Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights' budget proposes first full-time social worker, 7 additional police officers

Sterling Heights' 2021/22 proposed budget includes funding for the city’s first ever full-time social worker. The new position is designed to work with city departments to address the growing societal needs related to mental wellness, drug addiction, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). City officials said these issues impact the way police, fire, and code enforcement provide services.

“Employees need to be well-equipped to deal with these challenging situations, and having input from a certified social worker who collaborates regularly with agencies at the county, state and federal level will be invaluable and further enhance the quality of life for residents that may be struggling for one reason or another,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool.

Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool says a new social worker role, proposed in the city's latest budget, will be "invaluable".

The Sterling Heights City Council is hosting a series of budget workshops this month, prior to the planned budget adoption on May 4. 

For the fiscal year beginning July 1, the city budget totals $230 million – a decrease of $19.5 million, or 7.8%, over last year. The budget funds 521 full-time positions and the proposal includes the addition of seven police officers.

According to Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski, “these positions will enable the police department to have a larger presence in neighborhoods and commercial areas as well as the ability to focus more attention on speeding complaints." 

The annual budget also continues to prioritize road repair and reconstruction, with a total of $16.8 million going towards the total investment of $105 million in major road reconstruction during the 2021 construction season. With the renewal of the Safe Streets millage, the proposed budget also includes a $5.5 million investment in neighborhood streets that will fund sectional repairs and full reconstructions of 21 local streets.

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Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at