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No new taxes proposed for Grand Rapids 2018 budget

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The city of Grand Rapids is coming up on a deadline as officials near the end of their review for the next budget. Tuesday night they discussed what they’ll be investing in during the city commission meeting.

The first thing to know here is this is the biggest budget ever for the city at $527 million in total investments.

There’s no new taxes proposed for the 2018 budget. In fact proposed tax rates for the city’s operations, library, and parks are declining from  9.1166 mills last year to 9.0258 mills. When it comes to roads and infrastructure the city will continue to invest. They are planning to dedicated 6.3 million dollars to local street projects, and that’s about a million more than last year.

Mayor Bliss said one of the most important items in this budget and for the city’s future is community relations with the police. It’s been a big focus this spring for city leaders especially in light of recent national and local events.

The commission is setting aside $100,000 to ramp up community engagement, and $150,000 for gun and violence prevention. Their big investment is $1 million every year for five years to improve community police relations. They are still thinking about how they exactly want to use those dollars, but they want them set aside regardless until they decide.

“I think the important thing for tonight before we go into a public hearing is some of the things we are looking at. and i think what was very clear this morning is that we want a million dollars over the next ifive years set aside for improving community police relations. we know we need to think about how those dollars are spent. we want to be very clear that is a priority for us,” said Mayor Bliss.

The commission plans to take a vote on the fiscal 2018 budget at next week’s meeting on June 13th.  A balanced budget must be approved by June 30, as the new fiscal year starts July 1.

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