City merges board directors

February 26, 2010
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Grand Rapids city commissioners agreed to join the Kent County investment pool last week and also gave their OK for two business-related city boards to merge into one set of directors.

Members of the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority officially resigned from that board last week and were then appointed as directors to the city’s Economic Development Corp. board. Then they were designated as the directors of the board for the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

“The missions are similar and their activities are related,” said City Economic Development Director Kara Wood, who said the change would add efficiencies to the city’s decision process.

Joseph Jones, Valery Moody, Terry Nicholas, Robert Porter, Elizabeth Sangalli Hillary and Stanley Wisinski are the new EDC board members. They join existing members Michael De Vries, Peggy Murphy, Samuel Ojo, Lynn Rabaut, Brian Smits and Francisco Vega as directors. Also, City Commissioner Walt Gutowski replaced Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss as the board’s city representative last week.

“This brings together board members with many different backgrounds that all add tremendous value to the economic development programs that these two entities administer,” said Wood.

The boards will convene separately but on the same day.

City Treasurer Al Mooney wanted the city to participate in the county’s investment pool in order to diversify the city’s short-term investment portfolio and provide the city with higher returns on those investments because larger lots of funds are invested in the pool and those lots can be leveraged for higher returns. He told members of the city’s Fiscal Committee that in previous years the city didn’t need to diversify, but he added that today’s investment market has changed and the need to be more diversified has become greater.

“The city manager was very pleased with this idea,” said Gutowski, who chairs the Fiscal Committee, of Greg Sundstrom.

Mooney said the city would likely invest $20 million to $25 million in the county’s pool.

Kent County invests in government securities, pooled funds, certificates of deposit and money market accounts. The county doesn’t invest with investment banks or in commercial paper. At the start of 2009, the pool had a balance of $386.2 million. Deputy County Treasurer Steve Orchard manages the pool.

County Treasurer Kenneth Parrish will give his annual report on the investment pool in about a month.

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