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Key City Budget and Spending Facts

The City
of Grand Rapids spent approximately $465 million in 2009 on a variety of public programs,
services and assets. Approximately $115 million
was spent from the General
Operating Fund (GOF).

The
City’s three largest General Operating Funded departments are police, fire and parks-recreation.

The City
allocates approximately $75 million
general fund dollars to public safety – police and fire.
This accounts for approximately 65 percent
of the GOF – 42 percent to police and 23 percent
to fire.

The City
in 2009 allocated approximately $5.3M
general fund dollars to parks and recreation. This
accounts for less than 5 percent
of the GOF.

The 2009
budget dedicated specifically to park maintenance and operations was $3.2
million
. This
number, which does not include cemetery or golf course operations, represents more
than a 20 percent reduction from 2002 levels for basic parks maintenance.

The Parks
and Recreation Department at the start of 2010 had 26 total permanent staff.
This is a 62 percent
reduction from 2002.

The
proposed May 2010 tax hike would raise an estimated $7.2 – 7.5 million
for the general operating fund. The
vast majority of the new funds, if approved, would support public safety,
according to the city manager’s preliminary fiscal plan.

City
leaders would choose how to allocate any remaining funds, perhaps as little as $1.5-1.75
million
, to
support any other essential services funded by the GOF.

Bottom
line, the proposed tax hike is designed to support police and fire services,
not parks. How investment in parks maintenance and operations might change in
the FY2011 budget remains entirely unclear.

Regardless
of what happens with the proposed public safety tax in May 2010, city leaders
must choose to shape a FY2011 budget that stabilizes parks funding and
accelerates the transformation of the Parks Department and, by extension, the
City.

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