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City manager to detail impact of coronavirus on Grand Rapids' budget outlook

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids city hall.

People in Grand Rapids will get their first look this week at the city’s projected budget for the coming year.

City manager Mark Washington is scheduled to update commissioners on the city commission Tuesday morning, and there’s a digital town hall scheduled for residents on Thursday night.

The new fiscal year starts in July.

Revenues had been growing in Grand Rapids, and lots of other places before the coronavirus hit.

Washington says the plan presented this week will focus on the response and recovery from COVID-19.

“We are a resilient community and we will recover,” Washington says in a letter to commissioners posted online last week. “We have proven it in the past and will prove it again.”

Cities like Grand Rapids are eligible for new funds from the federal government under the recently passed CARES Act, but those funds are only for new expenses related to the coronavirus response. Any budget shortfall from the worsening economy has to be made up at the local level, at least for now.

The preliminary fiscal plan for next year will be presented Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. to the city commission’s Committee of the Whole. The meeting will be streamed on the city’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The digital town hall is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, and will also be streamed on YouTube and Facebook. For details on how to comment or ask questions at either meeting, go here.

Commissioners are expected to work on the preliminary fiscal plan during meetings on May 5 and May 12. A public hearing on the plan is being proposed for May 21.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.