City commissioners cut spending

March 30, 2009
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Last week, Grand Rapids city commissioners made their second reduction in the last two months to current-year spending plans.

In February, commissioners agreed to cut expenses to the general operating fund by $3.4 million. Last week, they shaved $3.2 million in spending from some enterprise funds, such as Parking Services and the 61st District Court.

“I want to assure you that what we are offering here will not change our level of service,” said Interim City Manager Eric DeLong to commissioners. “This positions us for fiscal 2010,” he said.

Enterprise funds are not financially supported by the city’s general operating fund. Instead these accounts receive revenue from services the units provide, or rely on funding from other sources like the state.

DeLong said most of the cuts will come from a salary lapse generated through unfilled vacancies and by reducing contractual services. But two positions will be eliminated in the parking department and some parking maintenance will be pushed back one year.

“We don’t have a lot of repairs because we take good care of the meters,” said Pam Ritsema, director of Parking Services.

Cuts will also be made to the city’s water and sewer departments, which may result in lower rates for customers.

“By reducing the funds, it will have a mitigating effect on rates,” said DeLong.

Although more spending adjustments may be coming before the fiscal year ends June 30, DeLong said the attention of department heads, his staff and City CFO Scott Buhrer has turned to developing a preliminary financial outlook for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.

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