|2013 Spring Auction
The City of Grand Rapids will be holding their Used Motorized Equipment Sale conducted by M&W Incorporated on June 6th at 9:00am. The location will be at M&W Inc., 979 West River Center Drive NE., Comstock Park MI. Terms of payment will be cash or check. To view pictures of the vehicles and equipment to be sold visit their website at www.mnwinc.com.
City Will Begin to Issue Civil Infraction Tickets for Marijuana Offenses
Keeping with the May 1, 2013 start dates committed to in March, the City Manager has issued an Executive Order directing the Grand Rapids Police Department to begin issuing civil infraction tickets for minor marijuana offenses. The City Manager's Executive Order, 2013-01, effective Wednesday, May 1, 2013, describes the conditions under which a municipal civil infraction ticket will be issued.
City Extends State of Emergency
The Grand Rapids City Commission, during this morning’s Committee of the Whole meeting, approved a resolution extending the State of Emergency until May 24, 2013. This extension will provide staff with the necessary time to complete damage assessments.
The City of Grand Rapids has made available to businesses and institutions affected by the flood a survey to gather information related to the overall impact to the business community. Businesses that have not submitted their information are being asked to complete and submit the survey to the City Assessor by Wednesday May 1, 2013. This survey will only serve to estimate the full amount of damage to the community. The survey and other information on the flooding can be found at www.update.grcity.us.
Please continue to use extreme caution on walkways and areas adjacent to the river or flooded areas.
FY2014 Preliminary Fiscal Plan
Click on the title above to view the City's FY2014 Preliminary Fiscal Plan, which the City Commission will be discussing in the coming weeks. For more information, you may contact the Fiscal Services office at 456-3951.
Update Regarding Flood Issues - April 21, 2013
Please click on the title above to read the latest updates given by Mayor Heartwell at the 1:30pm Press Conference on April 21, 2013. For all updates on the flood event, please visit www.update.grcity.us
CITY CLOSES FULTON STREET BRIDGE TO ALL ACCESS
The City of Grand Rapids has closed the Fulton Street bridge over the Grand River to ALL pedestrian and vehicular traffic. As a preventive measure, Consumers Energy will be re-routing power from two high-voltage electric distribution lines attached to the bridge which serve the downtown area. This involves de-energizing the power lines. Concerns include not only the rising water, but debris in the river that could compromise the electric lines and damage the bridge. This process is not expected to interrupt electric service to any downtown customers.
Once the lines are de-energized later today by Consumers Energy, the City will coordinate efforts to safely remove debris from the bridge piers. Access is restricted to essential personnel during this work. Please stay off Fulton Street bridge.
Mayor George Heartwell will again brief the media on flood and safety related issues at 1:30pm at City Hall, 300 Monroe NW, in the City Commission Chambers, where representatives from Consumers Energy, as well as other municipalities will be present.
Flood Update April 20, 2013
Storm related updates can be found at www.update.grcity.us.
The City of Grand Rapids held a Media Update at City Hall, 300 Monroe NW, City Commission Chambers (9th floor), at 1:30pm today, April 20, 2013 to keep area residents informed of the latest flood-related issues and actions being taken in our community.
Your safety is a priority. Please comply with emergency personnel when asked to evacuate or leave an area that has been deemed unsafe.
- Park Place Apartment Complex: Thursday night 200 Residents residing in the Park Place apartment complex along Plaster Creek were evacuated. The Fire Department has evaluated the situation and has given the green light to the Owner/Manager of the apartment complex for residents to return.
- Plaza Towers Apartments and Courtyard Marriott hotel
Saturday morning the City of Grand Rapids firefighters assisted in the evacuation of the Plaza Towers Apartments and Courtyard Marriott Hotel. The management of the Plaza Towers requested Consumers Energy to shut down the power due to groundwater in their basement. This is not a breach of the river but rather hydraulic pressure forcing groundwater into their basement.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
The Wastewater Treatment Plant on Market Avenue has been secured. Staff reported some groundwater leakage on Saturday, but not a breach of the river.
The Mayor expresses gratitude to all who have volunteered. Several hundred people made their way to the Public Services building at 201 Market to help fill sandbags, as coordinated by WMEAC. Volunteers are still needed to help fill sandbags. Volunteers are invited to report to 201 Market (Public Services offices) at 8:00am Sunday to make sand bags. Numerous businesses in the area have donated food and beverages to the hard working volunteers.
Please obey road closures. Residents are strongly urged to use caution when driving over any water-covered roadways. Do NOT attempt to drive through flooded areas. Current road closures are listed on the City website at www.update.grcity.us
State of Emergency
The Mayor of the City of Grand Rapids has issued a declaration of a State of Emergency, after considerate assessment of the flood waters and any potential infrastructure damage that may be sustained in the City.
Emergency Shelters are open at:
Kentwood Activities Center, 353 – 48th Street and (capacity 200 people, currently 3 people using this facility)
Alpine Baptist Church, 692 – 7 Mile Road NW in Comstock Park (200 people capacity)
First Baptist Church, 2275 W. Main Street, Lowell (75 people)
The Red Cross urges evacuees to bring blankets, pillows, medications, personal hygiene items, a change of clothes and items for the young and elderly.
Due to the high water, Riverside Park is still closed to all pedestrian traffic. For your own safety, please do not enter the park or enter the river.
Residents should attempt to report safety issues related to flooding to these numbers:
Manholes and stormwater/Sewer Maintenance 456-3246
Emergency (Police and Fire): 911
Flooded streets: 456-3232
If you must leave your home due to the flooding, be sure to turn off electricity to your residence.
Please be a good neighbor; help where you can. Do not allow children to play in the flood waters for safety and health reasons.
Another Media Update will be held Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 1:30pm in Grand Rapids City Hall in the City Commission Chambers (9th floor)
Please visit www.update.grcity.us for the most recent updates on the flooding in the City of Grand Rapids.
You will find information on volunteer opportunities to fill sand bags, as well as vital safety information.
• City of Grand Rapids staff has opened the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to manage the actions taken in Grand Rapids as they relate to flooding or potential dangerous situations.
• Your safety is a priority. Please comply with emergency personnel when asked to evacuate or leave an area that has been deemed unsafe.
• Emergency Shelters have been set up at:
Kentwood Activities Center, 353 – 48th Street and
Alpine Baptist Church, 692 – 7 Mile Road NW in Comstock Park
First Baptist Church, 2275 W. Main Street, Lowell
The Red Cross urges evacuees to bring blankets, pillows, medications, personal hygiene items, a change of clothes and items for the young and elderly.
• The Wastewater Treatment Plant on Market Avenue could potentially flood. Volunteers continue to be needed to make sand bags to strengthen the area around the plant. Volunteers are being coordinated through WMEAC, and are asked to report to either 201 Market (Public Services offices) or 660 Market (Wastewater Treatment Plant) at 8:00am on Saturday, April 20, 2013 to make sand bags.
• Please obey road closures. Roads have been closed because they are unsafe due to the high water. Residents are strongly urged to use caution when driving over any water-covered roadways. Do NOT attempt to drive through flooded areas. Current road closures are listed on the City website at www.update.grcity.us
• Due to the high water, Riverside Park is closed to all pedestrian traffic. For your own safety, please do not enter the park or enter the river.
• Residents should attempt to report safety issues related to flooding to these numbers:
Manholes and stormwater/Sewer Maintenance 456-3246
Emergency (Police and Fire): 911
Flooded streets: 456-3232
• We are currently under a high wind advisory. The wind, coupled with chilly temperatures, which could pose another set of problems. Please be aware of and report downed power lines to Consumer’s Energy immediately. 1-800-477-5050
• If you must leave your home due to the flooding, be sure to turn off electricity to your residence.
• The City of Grand Rapids has not declared a State of Emergency.
• Please be a good neighbor; help where you can. Do not allow children to play in the flood waters for safety and health reasons.
• Additional Press Conferences will be held Saturday, April 20, 2013 and Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 1:30pm in Grand Rapids City Hall in the City Commission Chambers (9th floor).
SPRING IS HERE!
YARD WASTE DROP OFF: The City’s Yard Waste drop-off site opens on Monday, April 1st and is FREE to City residents; however, non-residents may use the drop-off site for a fee to dispose of yard waste. Leaves, brush, and tree branches may be dropped off at 2001 Butterworth SW Monday through Saturday during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Residents will need to show a valid ID proving residency in the City of Grand Rapids (NO COMMERCIAL DUMPING). If residency within Grand Rapids City Limits can’t be proven, the visitor will be charged a non-resident rate for dropping-off yard waste material ($10 for a car, $20 for a car with small trailer [4x6] or pickup truck, $40 for pickup with large side panels or small trailer [4x6], $60 for large truck or large trailer [greater than 4x6]). The yard waste drop-off site cannot be used for the disposal of construction material, trash, or any other non-yard waste items. The use of plastic bags for the disposal of leaves (or any other yard waste) is prohibited. Residents bringing yard waste in plastic bags to the drop-off site will be asked to empty the material out of the bags and dispose of them properly.
CURBSIDE YARD WASTE COLLECTION: The City will begin residential curbside yard waste collections on Monday, April 8, 2013. City yard waste tags are $1.50 each, City yard waste paper bags are $7.50 for a package of five, and yard waste cart tags are $5.25 each. Curbside yard waste is collected on the same day as refuse collection for your area. All yard waste must be placed at your refuse collection point by 7:00 a.m.
WOOD CUTTING: Wood permits are available for $10 per day to cut and collect wood at the drop off location and can be purchased at the Public Services Department located at 201 Market SW between the hours of 7:30 am to 4:30 pm., Monday through Friday. Wood can be collected from the City’s yard waste site located at 2001 Butterworth SW, Monday through Saturday during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
We would also like to remind City residents that the raking/sweeping of leaves (or any other material) into the street or gutter is not permitted. Material swept into the street may clog catch basins causing street flooding and can potentially contaminate waters of the state.
If you have any questions, please contact the Public Services Department at 456-3232.
Revised Process for Filling City Comptroller Vacancy
The City Commission has extended the filing period for applications for City Comtroller until March 25 at 5pm. The following link describes the timeline and application process the City Commission will use to fill the Comptroller vacancy, term expiring December 31, 2013. (Scroll to 'Application for City Comptroller Position' link.)
City Commission Budget Retreat
During the Budget Retreat on February 12, 2013, staff provided an update on the City’s financial condition and the progress being made with Phase I of the Transformation Investment Plan. A presentation by the Sustainable Streets Task Force was also given. Click the above title for links to all the supporting documents distributed at the City Commission Budget Retreat.
Invest Now urges Sustainable Streets Task Force
Members of the Sustainable Streets Task Force told Grand Rapids City Commissioners this afternoon that the time to invest in streets is now, before the entire system is ruined. The Commission-appointed Task Force has been working for one year; studying road condition, funding sources, and possible solutions. The group has made significant progress in the development of a plan that calls for a mix of new state investment and new local investment for local streets. An exciting part of their proposal calls for changing a 95-year old law to relieve property owners of sidewalk repair costs.
Economic Vitality Incentive Program – City of GR's Consolidation Plan
In accordance with 2012 Public Act 200, and to qualify for the Consolidation of Services portion of the Economic Vitality Incentive Program, the City of Grand Rapids is making its update to the Consolidation Plan available at City of Grand Rapids’ web site at www.grcity.us . The consolidation plan contains updates on the status of the new proposals that were in the previous year's consolidation plan and new proposals to increase the existing level of cooperation, collaboration, and consolidation within the jurisdiction or with other jurisdictions. For more information on this plan please contact Eric DeLong, Deputy City Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
State of the City of Grand Rapids
Mayor George K. Heartwell delivered his State of the City address on Saturday, January 26. Click the title above to read his address in its entirety.
Water Main Break Updates
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 23, 2013, a small area in the Southeast portion of the Grand Rapids Water System experienced a loss of pressure due to a 30 inch water main break. Grand Rapids City staff was on scene immediately and began work to diagnose and fix the break. City crews working with Dykema Excavating have begun making repairs. It is expected that those repairs will be completed in 48 hours. This work is being coordinated with DTE and Consumers Energy. CLICK the above title in blue for more information, a boil water advisory, and a map of the area.
Water Main Break - near Adams and Gladstone SE
There is a Water main break in the on the SE side of the City--an approximately five block area without water.
• Grand Rapids Water crews are working to restore water service as quickly as possible.
• If you currently have water service, your water is safe to use and drink. If your water is discolored, please flush through a lower level faucet (kitchen or laundry sink) until clear.
• An estimate on time-to-restore water service is not yet available. We will provide updates as information becomes available.
• If you have colored tape on your door, please leave it in place. City staff is visiting homes affected by flooding or sewer back-up to preliminarily assess conditions. After they have made contact, they place colored tape on the front door knob to indicate that an assessment has been done. Please leave the tape in place.
myGRcitypoints Posts Volunteer Opportunities to Earn Points and Kicks off a Campaign to Improve Three City Parks
The City of Grand Rapids is announcing a new phase of myGRcitypoints.com that rewards residents for volunteering and permits points donations for community campaigns.
After a successful launch of myGRcitypoints in which Grand Rapids residents increased their recycling by 80% to earn points redeemable for discounts at locally-owned businesses, mygrcitypoints.com today launched its second phase in which residents can earn points by volunteering at approved nonprofit events.
The program was announced at a news conference at City Hall today with Mayor George K. Heartwell, City Manager Greg Sundstrom, and Maureen Noe, CEO and President of partnering agency Heart of West Michigan United Way.
Mayor Heartwell announced a partnership with Heart of West Michigan United Way to reward points to City and non-City residents by volunteering. Grand Rapids will partner with United Way’s HandsOn Connect system, which has proven successful in connecting volunteers and volunteer opportunities. HandsOn Connect is an online volunteer management service which allows organizations to post volunteer opportunities, communicate with volunteers, track volunteer participation, and beginning today, earn myGRcitypoints.
Mayor Heartwell also announced myGRcitypoints.com campaigns, where persons with points can contribute points earned from recycling and volunteering to a community-building campaign. A sponsor can create a community campaign to bring awareness and motivate people to engage in a community cause.
The first campaign will be sponsored by the City of Grand Rapids, as part of the Parks Alive program with the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. The City will offer a “park makeover” to the City park which receives the most donated points. People will be able to contribute points through the end of March to their favorite City park. The winning park will receive a $50,000 “park makeover”, with the improvements being selected by park neighbors. There will also be two runner-up parks which will receive $10,000 “park spruce ups”.
“United Way connects resources to meet local community needs. We are excited to partner with the City of Grand Rapids in a way that will benefit everyone in our community,” said Heart of West Michigan United Way President and CEO Maureen Noe. “HandsOn Connect will improve opportunities for area residents to leverage their gifts of time with Kent County nonprofits.”
City officials are hopeful this phase will be met with the same enthusiasm that the recycling phase did, which has proven to be successful for the City, Local First, and its participating businesses. The City is seeking to boost civic engagement.
“The intention of myGRcitypoints has been to incent sustainable living and encourage residents to visit locally-owned businesses. With these new features, myGRcitypoints.com can also incent civic engagement and community-building,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “We are excited to launch another innovative program that will help transform our City.”
The City is encouraging individuals and community groups to sponsor a campaign to motivate interest in community causes. For example, a local hospital could sponsor a community campaign to encourage a healthy behavior, such as weight loss, that could reward a neighborhood for the greatest weight loss. A campaign could be set up to encourage reading to children, planting trees, or donating prom dresses. Campaigns are only limited by our creativity. Campaigns will help businesses and philanthropic foundations get involved. Businesses can sponsor a campaign in which they offer something of value if a specific amount of points are donated by mygrcitypoints.com users. Foundations may offer a grant to an organization if participants donate a certain amount of points. “myGRcitypoints campaigns can be a tremendously creative way for businesses, foundations, and individuals to work together for the benefit of the community,” noted Mayor George Heartwell.
Log on to mygrcitypoints.com to learn more about this initiative.
RFPs for Group Medical, Dental, and Vision Benefit Services
The City of Grand Rapids is issuing RFPs for the following services:
•medical, dental and vision coverage for its covered employees and dependents (No. M112012)
•PBM benefit services for its covered employees and dependents (No. P112012)
Intent to respond is due by 1:00 pm EST on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 and full proposals are due by 1:00 pm EST on Monday, January 14, 2013. The complete RFPs are available by clicking the above title or by calling 616-456-3106.
Veteran's Day Observed
There will be NO delay in Grand Rapids City Refuse/Recycling or Yard Waste Collections on Monday, November 12, 2012, due to Veteran’s Day. Refuse, Recycling and Yard Waste Collections will be collected on schedule all week.
The Yard Waste Drop-Off Site at 2001 Butterworth SW will be OPEN on Monday, November 12, 2012. Residents with questions may contact the Public Services Department at 456-3232.
The City of Grand Rapids Most City offices, however, will be closed in observance of the Veteran's Day Holiday on Monday, November 12.
Fall Vehicle Auction - November 8, 2012
The City of Grand Rapids will be holding their Used Motor Equipment Sale conducted by M&W Incorporated on November 8th at 9:00am. The location will be at M&W Inc., 979 West River Center Drive NE, Comstock Park MI. Terms of payment will be cash or check. To view pictures of the vehicles to be sold visit their website at www.mnwinc.com.
Transformation Plan Update
The City of Grand Rapids is committed to transparency and accountability, a commitment that has strengthened during the transformation of the City. At the Special Briefing on September 25, 2012, the commission and the community had another opportunity to learn about the financial condition of the City, as well as the progress being made to implement the 76 value streams within the Transformation Investment Plan. This Plan is serving as a vital guide to ensure the City transforms by FY2016.
During the briefing Chief Financial Officer Scott Buhrer presented the preliminary FY2012 financial results. The report provided a glimpse of the financial challenges we have ahead and the pathway to becoming financially sustainable by FY2016. Also included was a status update of the 76 value streams within the Transformation Investment Plan, as well as a blueprint of key decisions designed to move the plan forward to ensure expenditure targets are met. This discussion was led by Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong and Assistant to the City Manager Tom Almonte. Stated City Manager Greg Sundstrom, "I know that a sustainable future for our organization is within our reach, but it will require tough decisions in the days ahead."
STORM WATER QUALITY ISLANDS RIBBON CUTTING
It is time to showcase the Plainfield corridor improvements and our Storm Water Quality Islands to the rest of Grand Rapids and the State of Michigan.
You are invited to join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony and donor recognition on September 12, 2012, at 4:30 pm followed by a short educational bus tour of the islands. We will honor and recognize the donors and others that made this unique project a reality.
Please meet on the Coit side of Red Jet Café at the intersection of Plainfield and Coit at 4:30 pm. At that time, all donors will be recognized for their commitment and contribution to helping improve the Plainfield corridor and the environment. We will have transportation waiting to take attendees on a short tour of the Islands and return us back to Red Jet Café.
Innovative “Pay As You Throw” Smart Cart Refuse Program
(GRAND RAPIDS, MI) –Today the City of Grand Rapids formally launched its new refuse collection program designed to increase efficiencies and lower trash removal costs for residents. The program, which will use “smart carts” and an online account management system, was announced at a 9am City Hall news conference led by Mayor George Heartwell and City Manager Greg Sundstrom.
Registration for the new refuse program, which can be done online at www.refuse.grcity.us, has already started and the smart carts begin being delivered to homes this week.
Pay as You Throw, Smart-Cart, Curbside Refuse Collection Program
The City of Grand Rapids is creating new service models by taking the best from our current programs and incorporating new technologies and practices. The City is reviewing every City service to ensure that they are provided with the maximum value for the least cost. Following the successful recycling and myGRcity points program, the City is launching a new refuse program. It will remain pay as you throw, but will use smart-carts and automated equipment to empty the carts to improve productivity and lower costs for the City and customers.
Procedure for PAYT Account Activation
The City’s new web-based account management program will help customers to better manage their refuse collection. Customers can manage their account to ensure that sufficient funds are available when a driver attempts to empty a refuse cart. Customers can be notified when their account balance is low. Click on this link to activate your account.
TEENS RECRUITED TO SERVE ON THE MAYOR’S YOUTH COUNCIL
Our Community’s Children is offering a leadership opportunity for teens to serve on the 2012-2013 Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC). Teens must live in Grand Rapids, be in the 9th through 12th grade, and be able to serve for one school year. In addition, teens need to be curious about the functions city government, be willing to voice their ideas and opinions, and enjoy meeting new friends. Applications are due Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
New Our Community’s Children (OCC) video
Our Community’s Children (OCC) is a public/private partnership between the City of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Public Schools and community partners. Learn more about OCC by viewing this video.
City of Grand Rapids plans new route for annual “Grand Crossings,” Bridge Walk on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2012
Join your neighbors, invite your friends. Participants can walk as many as five miles through downtown Grand Rapids, the equivalent of the Mackinac Bridge, and cross more than just one bridge on a new route. The route is wheelchair accessible and appropriate for all fitness levels. No sign-up is necessary. Snacks provided by Spartan Stores. Please make sure you are physically able to participate.
Mayor George K. Heartwell will lead the walk which steps off at 8:00 a.m., Monday, September 3, 2012, at 8:00 a.m., from Ah-Nab-Awen Park, near the corner of Pearl and Scribner. Free parking is available in City lots Area 7 by Big Boy and the Scribner lot.
Study of Police and Fire Services by ICMA Consulting Services
Transforming Police and Fire is one of the many areas identified in the City’s five-year Transformation Investment Plan. The Plan has been designed to deliver General Operating Fund results that will return the City to financial sustainability, where ongoing expenditures are aligned with ongoing revenues over the five-year planning period.
One of the most significant metrics in the Transformation Investment Plan is the achievement of a 10% reduction in Police and Fire costs which matched the reduction required of other General Operating Fund departments.
The report completed by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) is designed to review the police and fire department operations, provide recommendations for improved performance and/or reduction of costs, and alternative strategies for the delivery of services.
As we enter into a period of listening, comments and suggestions can be forwarded to the Mayor, City Commission, and City Manager by phone at 456-4250 or email at email@example.com.
CITY EMBARKS ON A 26-MILE EXPANSION OF ITS URBAN BIKE NETWORK
City staff has announced a concerted effort to expand Grand Rapids’ urban bike network by 26 miles over the next 9 months. This aggressive bike facility expansion project is due to citizen demand for more bike-friendly streets. Work will be completed in two phases; the first phase will begin later this week and include approximately 16 miles of new bike facilities. The second phase will include another 10 miles to be implemented in the spring. Additional resources to expedite expansion of the network are currently being sought to leverage the funds appropriated in the FY2013 Fiscal Plan for this effort.
Mayor's 2012 Labor Day Bridge Walk
Join the Mayor's Bridge Walk on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2012
8:00 a.m. Ah-Nab-Awen Park
You don’t have to go all the way to the Mackinac Bridge to join the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. Join your neighbors, invite your friends. Participants can walk as many as five miles through downtown Grand Rapids, the equivalent of the Mackinac Bridge, and cross more than just one bridge on a new route. The route is wheelchair accessible and appropriate for all fitness levels. No sign-up is necessary. Snacks provided by Spartan Stores.
City Comptroller Proposes Charter Amendment
Donijo Robbins De Jonge says “The City is running a century old financial structure in the 21st century and the time has come for the City’s financial structure to be modernized. The first step to accomplish this feat is to start at the top with the City Comptroller position.”
Heartwell Selected as Top Mayor in National Mayor’s Climate Protection Awards
Grand Rapids Mayor George K. Heartwell was announced today as the nation’s top winner in the large city category in the 2012 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart. Winning First Place means the City of Grand Rapids will receive $25,000, sponsored by Walmart, to pass-through to non-profit organizations in the city working on sustainability and climate protection issues.
SSTF Finds 61% of City Streets in Poor Condition
The Sustainable Streets Task Force (SSTF), appointed by the City Commission on February 7, 2012, has been digging into the complexities of street classification, road condition and funding sources since their first meeting on February 22. On May 22, the Task Force provided their first report on current conditions to the Grand Rapids City Commission entitled “State of Grand Rapids’ Streets.” Their findings show that nearly two-thirds of the city’s 589 miles of streets are in poor condition; even more worrisome is that 72% of the city’s Principal Arterials - busy corridors that carry long-distance traffic - are in poor condition. Streets are not the only focus; the City has 22 bridges, 64 miles of alleys, almost 1,200 miles of sidewalks, 4,800 intersections, 62,000+ trees and 20,000+ street lights that all must be addressed.
From the Office of Special Events...
Please click the title to view our monthly newsletter with working links provided to you from the Office of Special Events. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events!
Grand Rapids is....
...“one of the best cities to raise a family” according to Forbes. Read the article here!
Election Workers are Needed
Election workers are need for the balance of 2012 elections -- May 8, August 7, and November 6. If you’re interested, please click on this link.
Mayor's Conversations About Children
Mayor Heartwell has called on the community to start conversations about children. There are three simple questions you can discuss:
1. Do we value all children equally and are we prepared to prioritize their needs above all others?
2. What clear, identifiable needs do our community’s children have?
3. What can we – individually and collectively – do to meet those needs?
For a reference, please visit the webpage for Our Community's Children, and click on the Youth Master Plan.
To begin to record your conversation, click on the link at the right!
Time to Think About Planting Trees!
The City of Grand Rapids, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the City’s Urban Forestry Committee are partnering with ReLeaf Michigan for their 22nd Annual Spring Tree and Shrub Sale. Get amazing deals on native trees and shrubs while supporting a great cause and doing your part to help our community reach our urban forest canopy goal of 40%.
Refuse and Recycling in the City of Grand Rapids
Last spring, the City partnered with Local First to implement the myGRcity points program, where residents who recycle earned points to redeem at local businesses. The City’s single-stream, smart-cart, curbside recycling program reports that the amount (in tons) of recyclables collected has increased by over 80% in the past ten months. As more residents participate in the recycling program, the amount of refuse collected throughout the City has dropped by 13%. Please click the title to read important information about the program which will begin July 2012.
Informational Meeting on Changes to Refuse Collection
An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, February 28, from 6pm to 7pm at Holy Spirit Parish Multi-Purpose Room (2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW) regarding the proposed changes to refuse collection in the City of Grand Rapids. Click on the title above to read the flyer for more information.
GFOA Budget Award Presented to Grand Rapids
For the twenty-fourth consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has presented a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award to the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan for its annual budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011. Read more by clicking on the title of this article.
Sustainable Streets Task Force Appointed
City of Grand Rapids’ Street System is nearly broken as the condition of city streets deteriorates at an accelerated pace due to deferred maintenance, diminishing funds and increasing repair costs. On Tuesday, February 7, the Grand Rapids City Commission appointed business, neighborhood and community leaders to the Sustainable Streets Task Force to identify solutions for the City’s street crisis.
2012 Mayor's State of the City
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell presents his annual State of the City address on Saturday morning, January 28, 2012. Click the title to read his address in its entirety.
Michigan Primary Ballot Requirements
Michigan’s lawmakers voted to require separate ballots for Republican candidates and for Democratic candidates for the upcoming presidential election, just as was done in January 2008. (Public Act 163 of 2011) Grand Rapids City Clerk Lauri Parks wants voters to know that when they request an absentee
ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party’s primary they wish to vote (Republican or Democratic). They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party. There are some communities that have proposals on their ballots that will have a third ballot option to just vote on the proposal, but this does not apply to the City of Grand Rapids voters.
20,000th Skater at Rosa Parks Circle
On Wednesday, January 11, at approximately 1:00 pm, Bethany DeBlaay was the 20,000th skater for the season at Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink. In honor of this milestone, the Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Alliance presented DeBlaay with an array of prizes including one free night at the Amway Grand Plaza, a one-year family membership to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, tickets to a future Griffins game and dinner at Big O’s.
The photos provided show Bethany DeBlaay and her family, Jay Fowler from the Downtown Development Authority, James Hurt from Grand Rapids Public Services Department, Randy Van Antwerp from Grand Rapids Art Museum, and Mayor George Heartwell.
GR Treasurer Launches Online Payment Options
The City of Grand Rapids, in partnership with Chase Bank, is pleased to provide to our customers a convenient, lower cost online payment method for searching and paying their parking tickets, Refuse Cart billings, and other miscellaneous charges. With our partners at JPMorgan Chase, we have developed two additional interactive online payment systems that will make it easier and less expensive for citizens to make payments to the city. The parking ticket payment channel should save parking customers over $35,000 per year in payment expenses as compared to last year. The new payment system for Refuse Cart billings and other miscellaneous charges allows customers to pay with an e-check for free, warehouse bank and credit card data, and review payment history online. Click title to read more.
City and Firefighters Agree to Contract
The City of Grand Rapids is pleased to announce that it has approved a new labor contract with the Grand Rapids Fire Fighters bargaining unit.
The City is thankful for the leadership displayed by William Smith, President, as well as the support and commitment of bargaining unit members. The City considers the new contracts a key milestone in achieving a reduction in total compensation across all bargaining units. Read more by clicking on the title.
Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP)-Cooperation/Collaboration
The City of Grand Rapids submitted a report to the Michigan Department of Treasury detailing current and future intergovernmental activities in the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Area. This report was a requirement to qualify for $1.5 million as part of the Governor’s Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP). This program replaced the State Shared Revenue program and requires that communities meet specified criteria to be eligible to receive dollars from EVIP. The total funding for EVIP within the State of Michigan’s Budget is approximately two thirds of what the City of Grand Rapids formerly received under the State Shared Revenue. Click the title above to read the report.
GR Reaches New 4-Year Contract with Police Bargaining Units
The City of Grand Rapids is pleased to announce that it has approved a new labor contract with the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association, the union that represents police officers and sergeants and with the Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association, the union that represents police lieutenants and police captains. The City is thankful for the leadership displayed by Officer Greg Hillary and Captain Pete McWatters, as well as the support and commitment of bargaining unit members. The City considers the new contracts a key milestone in achieving a reduction in total compensation across all bargaining units.
City Commission's Mid-Year Update
Click the title above to view the entire packet of information provided to and discussed by City Commissioners at their mid-year update meeting of November 29, 2011.
Proposed Pleasant Park in Grand Rapids Receives $300,000
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board has recommended funding in an amount of $300,000 to help transform an abandoned parking lot at 620 Madison Avenue S.E. (the corner of Pleasant Street and Madison Avenue) into a new neighborhood park. The proposed Pleasant Park would add substantial open space, numerous trees, a playground, and other amenities to a largely residential area of the city devoid of green and recreational space.
Winter 2012 Recreation Guide
Click on the title to view the 2012 Winter Recreation Guide in the City. There are many offerings in new locations to enjoy our City this Winter season!
Construction Professional Renewals Available Online
Construction professionals licensed or registered with the City of Grand Rapids may now renew online through the Inspection Services portal. Eighteen separate license types with unique requirements processed by the City’s Development Center are eligible for this service, including contractors, master electricians, residential builders, and others. More than 3,500 construction professionals are currently licensed or registered with the City.
The system is designed for customer convenience. Online renewal forms are automatically populated with existing information from the City’s records, which can then be modified as needed by the applicant. Fees may be paid with a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover).
The City’s Inspection Services Portal is a collaborative effort of the Design & Development Services, Community Development, Fire, Engineering, Enterprise Services, and Public Services departments. The portal provides access to a wide range of searchable permit and code enforcement information regarding properties within Grand Rapids. Additional permit and complaint application types will be added to the system in the coming months.
Detailed instructions on how to renew a construction professional license / registration online can be found by clicking the link at the top of this article.
Contact: Louis Canfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
City Comptroller Implements "Better Government Tip Line"
Tuesday morning, Donijo De Jonge, the City Comptroller, unveiled the Better Government Tip Line. This line is a hotline where employees, residents, contractors, and vendors can anonymously call and report tips of fraud, waste, and abuse as well as suggest efficiencies for departments.
Comptroller Donijo De Jonge says “according to statistics, 46 percent of all fraud, waste, and abuse is detected through hotline tips. Therefore, a tip line is a necessity and in today’s environment of accountability and transparency, a tip line is a must!”
DeJonge wants to know if you have witnessed any fraudulent or wasteful activities by employees, contractors, or vendors. If so, she encourages residents and employees to please use the anonymous tip line to report these tips.
This tip line will operate in the following manner. Employees, contractors, and residents may call 616.301.3343 to provide an allegation of a misuse of City resources or suggest an efficiency improvement for a specific job. The caller will be asked to leave a much detail as possible. In addition, the caller will be instructed not to report his or her name or contact information. Because this tip line is anonymous, it is imperative that the tipsters leave as much information as possible; including but not limited to a description of the misuse, the date and time of the incident, the person or persons involved, the location of the misuse. Besides providing tips of misuse, residents and especially employees can provide efficiency suggestions to improve the work flow processes.
The information will come to the City Comptroller only.
City Hall’s Future is Bright
City Hall will be getting brighter as screens are removed and new, energy efficient windows and lighting improvements are installed.
This is the largest renovation ever undertaken on a City owned building while still fully occupied and open for business.
Renovation will include replacement of all of the building’s original single-pane windows with a more energy efficient double-pane glass, replacement of all of the lighting in the building with energy efficient bulbs, and installation of motion sensors throughout the building.
Transformation Investment Plan Video
Here are the latest on the Transformation Investment Plan that is a key part of the City Manager's recommended FY12 Fiscal Plan. Planning Director Suzanne Schulz and Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong explain the plan.
Recycling for Rewards Program Debuts!
The City of Grand Rapids and Local First are excited to finally launch the mygrcitypoints.com program that rewards City residents for using their single-stream recycling bins. The program officially starts on April 19. This first-of-its-kind local rewards program allows participants to earn points simply by recycling. The points can be redeemed at Local First businesses for discounts on products and services. Residents simply need to go to www.mygrcitypoints.com to create their free account.
Information on new Trash Cart System
The new cart system will be a big and bold change for residents and for the City, but we are accustomed to being progressive in Grand Rapids. We were one of the first in the country to have a pay as you throw system. We are environmental leaders with our free curbside single-stream recycling program. Now, we are seeking to be progressive again, to lower the City's costs, to lower taxpayers' costs, to lower the property tax millage, to improve our customer service, to help our neighborhoods, and to improve the environment.
Submit Code Violation Complaints Online
City of Grand Rapids Housing and Zoning Code violation complaints may now be submitted online through the City Inspection Services Portal. Click on the Enforcement tab, and then click the Report a Code Violation link. Online submissions will need the street address of where the complaint is located and a description of the complaint (e.g. roof in disrepair). Once the complaint has been submitted, it will be assigned a tracking number that can be used to follow the status of the complaint.
Property Use Verification - Apply Online!
City of Grand Rapids customers may now apply for a Property Use Verification (PUV) online. A PUV is a legally binding document verifying the legal use of a property and often is requested in connection with a real estate transaction. Customers must create a free user account for the City's Inspection Services portal in order to access this service. Fees may be paid with a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover) and documents to aid City staff in verifying a legal use (utility bills, photos, etc.) may be attached electronically as part of the application process. Customers may also indicate whether any special requirements pertain to their request.
City's Sustainability Progress
The City of Grand Rapids is making good progress toward meeting the 39 outcomes included in its FY2011-FY2015 Sustainability Plan. The overall progress and success of the Sustainability Plan is monitored by the Office of Energy and Sustainability, based on quarterly reports provided by departmental staff on a dashboard, the City Scorecard.
Business Guide -- Resources and Checklist
At the request of the Grand Rapids City Commission and City Manager, a team of staff members have created an online guide to help entrepreneurs navigate the process of opening or expanding their business in Grand Rapids. View the Business Guide by clicking the link under "Need to Know" on the left of this page. The business guide encompasses major themes of interest to small business, including entrepreneurial assistance, location identification, incentives and financing assistance, licenses and permits, utilities, and taxes and fees. Web links to online resources and tools are incorporated throughout. A printable checklist is also available to help entrepreneurs track their progress through the guide.
Pay Your Water Bills Online!
The City of Grand Rapids, in partnership with Chase Bank, is pleased to provide to our customers a convenient, no-fee online payment method for searching and paying their water/sewer bills. Now customers will be able to view their balance owed and make payments in an interactive manner. This service is the first phase of the transformation of online payment options underway by the Treasury Department as we focus on providing more effective service delivery for our customers.
2011 Assessment Roll Report
Click here to read the 2011 Assessment Roll report. The purpose of this report is to provide a synopsis of the City's FY2012 property tax base, to provide key economic indicators related to the real estate market, and to provide an overview of the City's various property tax incentive programs and property tax capture districts.
Water System Working Toward Sustainability
In an effort to become more sustainable, the City's Water System is focusing on efficiencies and new technologies to reduce expenses and reduce customers' bills. Last year, the department committed to reducing its budget by 10% over a two-year period while also lowering rates for customers. In response, they are finding ways to reduce the System's own water consumption as well as end users' and installing upgrades in technology to create efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve customer service. An article recently appeared in Energy Today detailing their work.
Development Center Services are Online!
City of Grand Rapids customers may now apply for the following services online through the Citys Inspection Services Portal, including payment of fees by major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover): Sidewalk Point-of-Sale (POS) Requests, Electrical Permits (licensed contractors only), and Re-roofing and Re-siding Permits. When customers apply online, they can immediately print an application summary and receipt for their records. They also can track their application as it is processed by City staff.
Sustainability Plan: Climate Adaptation in GR
In this blog posting, ICLEI highlights the City of Grand Rapids' efforts to incorporate climate adaptation in the recently amended version of the Sustainability Plan. This addition demonstrates the organization-wide commitment to reducing climate-related impacts and risks. Now the City's climate adaptation efforts will be measured and reported annually.
More on Sustainability in Grand Rapids
The International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Center for Sustainable Communities recently completed a survey regarding sustainability initiatives that have been undertaken by local governments. Out of the 2,000 local governments who participated, "only three in ten have adopted a resolution stating policy goals and only one in five have adopted a plan with specific targets or benchmarks." The City of Grand Rapids has already accomplished both of these things. In addition to the survey results, the report highlights eight local governments that are leaders in sustainability initiatives. The City of Grand Rapids and the Community Sustainability Partnership were featured as one of these case studies on Page 19 of the report.