The Grand Rapids City Commission passed a $531 million budget Thursday for fiscal year 2021, which includes $5.4 million in economic relief funding for residents and businesses.
The budget period for fiscal year 2021 begins July 1. This year’s budget is $22 million less than last year, and $8.9 million less than a preliminary fiscal plan proposed on April 28 by Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington due to negative financial impacts of COVID-19.
The $5.4 million in economic relief includes:
- $3.3 million in federal funding
- $1 million in housing resiliency
- $584,000 from the city’s Mobile GR-Parking Services Department
- $170,000 in Neighborhood Match Fund support
- $125,000 from the general fund
The budget will also support continued Third Ward equity funding to be combined with federal funding for low- and moderate-income targeted areas. The city will dedicate $750,000 of the federal funding and housing resiliency investment to Third Ward equity investments as part of recommendations from the city’s economic resiliency and recovery work group.
The $3.3 million in federal funding comes from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which is planned to be used in neighborhoods, business recovery, transportation and infrastructure.
The CARES Act also boosted Community Development Block Grant Funding to $5 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which had previously seen funds steadily decline over the past two decades. Grand Rapids received $2.2 million in CDBG funds, which will be used to mitigate the effects COVID-19 has had on neighborhoods, and to help companies sustain through the shutdown and prepare for reopening. CDBG funds can be used for facility improvements, property acquisitions and rehabilitation and helping with home ownership.
A month into state and local efforts to contain COVID-19, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority board approved $200,000 in economic relief for businesses affected by closures.
Dine-in services have been shut down across the state since March 16. The reopening of restaurants and bars in the Upper Peninsula and counties in the northern region of the Lower Peninsula started today.
Restaurants have struggled to stay afloat while only able to provide takeout and delivery, and many have temporarily or permanently shut their doors in the last several months.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said during the Thursday commission meeting that the work related to the budget would not end with its adoption.
“This is an unprecedented time. We have a lot of work going forward,” Bliss said. “There are a lot of unknowns as it relates to the economic impact of COVID-19, and I anticipate we will get staff budget updates periodically as conditions change.”