City Commission Adopts Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

PRESS RELEASE — The City Commission this evening unanimously adopted the City’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Approval of the fiscal plan ordinance establishes a series of operating, debt service and capital appropriations for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019 – all focused on strategic priorities that elevate the quality of life in Grand Rapids.

The $553 million spending plan reduces the City’s property tax millage rate from 8.9710 mills to 8.9011 mills – a decrease of 0.0699 mills. The budget ensures quality City services, strengthens the organization’s ability to implement its strategic priorities and maintains financial stability. The general operating fund portion of the budget is $147,831,777.

The spending plan is focused on advancing the outcomes outlined in the City’s new Strategic Plan to ensure measurable improvements across each of the six priority areas: economic prosperity and affordability, mobility, safe community, health and environment, governmental excellence, and engaged and connected community.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Preliminary Fiscal Plan was presented in April by City Manager Mark Washington. He said the budget investments would help elevate quality of life through excellent City services and further the organization’s strategic priorities. 

“I am proud of this budget, which is a collaborative effort between our world-class staff and the City Commission,” Washington said. “I am grateful to community members who have shared their thoughts and engaged with us during the budget process. This fiscal plan will keep our momentum going.”  

The spending plan calls for more than $3.25 million in new operational investments across all six strategic priority areas to support services intended to achieve more equitable outcomes. Capital investment highlights – broken down by strategic priority – include:

Economic prosperity and affordability

  • Phase II plaza portion of the Lyon Square restoration in collaboration with project partners
  • Next phase of commitment to the Grand River restoration project 

Mobility

  • Addition of roughly 50 bus shelters as a part of year 2 of investments in the bus shelter expansion program
  • Investments to help support roughly 500 parking spaces
  • Parking facility access improvements
  • ADA, systematic and connectivity sidewalk investments
  • New Vital Streets investments 

Safe community

  • Creation of an evening shift for community policing services by adding three civilians and two officers and redeploying three officers
  • Addition of two crime analysts who can help with technology, analytical and administrative support in solving crimes, a crisis intervention and behavioral health specialist, and a senior-level position in the Executive Office to focus on public safety community relations and accountability
  • Traffic signal modernization improvements
  • Traffic safety projects
  • Equipment to maintain 911 dispatch capability
  • Police vehicles and fire apparatus and equipment
  • Advanced water rescue equipment 

Health and environment

  • 13 parks scheduled for improvement as part of the voter-approved parks millage
  • Third Ward parkland acquisition
  • Non-motorized trail for the Hastings Street NE connector
  • First phases of work required to relocate the Coldbrook pumping station from 1101 Monroe Ave. NW
  • Asset management investments at the City’s Lake Michigan Filtration Plant and Water Resource Recovery Facility
  • Water/sewer investments in conjunction with Vital Streets projects
  • Replacement of 5 percent of all private lead water service lines
  • Godfrey Avenue water/sewer utility reconstruction

Governmental excellence

  • Asset management investments to maintain City buildings and facilities
  • Restoration of the Calder Plaza sculpture La Grand Vitesse
  • Street lighting infrastructure projects 

Engaged and connected community

  • E-poll book laptops and absentee voter ballot tabulators to improve election experiences
  • Community cable television equipment upgrades

The budget is focused on ensuring equitable investments in the city’s Neighborhoods of Focus – 17 Census tracts that have concentrated poverty and unemployment – and continues the Third Ward Equity Fund.

“I look forward to working with City staff to implement these investments over the next year and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our community as a result of this work,” Washington said.

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