Local Advocacy: City of Grand Rapids Approves Budget – Considering Medical Marijuana
With guidance from you, our members, the Grand Rapids Chamber is growing our engagement at the local level. This includes the formation of a new Municipal Council to lead our efforts and a significant focus on how local policies impact the business climate. We look forward to working collaboratively and proactively with our local partners to grow the economy, celebrate successes and address challenges.
This week, the Grand Rapids City Commission approved its budget for the next fiscal year. The budget process is most important role of the Commission, along with the hiring of the City Manager.
On behalf of the Chamber, Josh Lunger, Director of Government Affairs used the public hearing opportunity to make a few comments on behalf of the business community. The Chamber’s comments included:
- A thank you for the continued investment of General Operating Fund dollars into streets and acknowledgement of the tremendous progress made in restoring our infrastructure to a state of good repair since the city passed the income tax extension.
- Applauding the Commission for the prioritization of setting aside reserves. We know there will be another economic downturn and these reserves will increase the fiscal resiliency of the city, and the city itself is projecting deficits in the near future.
- Encouraging the city to never lose sight of their unfunded liabilities, which are a significant and growing concern for municipalities statewide.
- Highlighting parking a mobility challenges in the downtown and this need should be reflected in the capital plan.
The comments concluded with a positive message about the state of the economy and the vibrancy of our city.
Another upcoming local item of note that members should be aware of is the City Commission will be hosting a public hearing on July 10 for an ordinance to opt-in to medical marijuana facilities following a public petition announcement. Various versions of this ordinance have been discussed (ranging from less to more restrictive) that include a wide range of potential sites city-wide for dispensaries, growers, transporters, processors and testing facilities.
This issue was recently discussed by the Municipal Council Executive Committee and we expect to have a position in early July.
If you have questions, comments or concerns, please contact Joshua Lunger at 616.771.0336.