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City Commission year-end meeting covers multiple topics

A report on the city commission's last meeting of 2011, and what's in store for 2012
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Grand Rapids City Commission

Website for the Commission

Next meeting January 10, 2012

300 Monroe, City Hall 9th floor

Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503


Large white fluffy snowflakes sprinkled the city streets as Mayor Heartwell and the Grand Rapids City Commission gathered for their last meeting of 2011 Tuesday night. The agenda was full of year-end discussion points. This included improvements for both the Rosa Parks Circle playground and the Championship Basketball Court at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Burton Street will get a resurfacing from Eastern Avenue to Plymouth, and the intersection of Three Mile and Erickson Court will have improvements made to its sanitary sewer system. The City’s contract with the DASH shuttle system was also renewed.

There will be a tax hike in water rates and charges effective January 1, 2012. This is complimented by a tax hike in sewer rates and charges. Citizens of Grand Rapids can also expect to see increases in both the rates of taxi cabs and ambulance services from American Medical Response.

The police and fire departments managed to save the city some money by taking hits in both retirement and healthcare. There is an agreement to a 1.5% pay increase for the departments after the first of the year followed by a wage freeze until 2014. However, the commission was able to squeeze in an approval for a severance package increase for appointed members, from three months to six months.

The agenda was filled with a slew of appointments for the upcoming year in various positions and committees. Most notable was the appointment of commissioner Ruth Kelly as the commission’s president and stand-in for Mayor Heartwell when needed. First Ward Commissioner Walt Gutowski congratulated Kelly, stating how happy he was for her, and said “it’s been quite a drought since we’ve had a female president.”

Looking ahead, the next meeting for the Grand Rapids City Commission will be January 10. This is also the date set to consider a major amendment of zoning in the Knapp’s Corner Redevelopment District. This amendment would allow construction within the 75 foot wetland setback. City Commission meetings are located on the 9th floor of City Hall and are open to the public.

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