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Gladstone unveils Citizen’s Guide, Budget Report

September 25, 2012
By Ilsa Matthes - staff writer ( , Daily Press

GLADSTONE - The city of Gladstone unveiled its Citizen's Guide, Dashboard, and Projected Budget Report at its commission meeting Monday night.

The three documents, which inform residents and the state about the city's inner workings, are part of the Economic Vitality Incentive Program.

"The state tells us what we need to prepare for them and by when, and what comes with that is we're basically earning one-third of a chunk of money that we used to just get automatically," said Darla Falcon, city manager.

EVIP, formerly known as Statutory Revenue Sharing, requires reports to be filed and updated annually to stay current and eligible for funding. The reports presented at the meeting Monday are due by Oct. 1 and will make the city eligible for about $34,000.

The documents, which are available on the city's website, define city departments, breakdown revenues and expenditures, explain millage rates, show changes in utility costs, report violent crime rates, and establish a budget for the next two fiscal years.

"It basically shows what we do with the money we receive, what services we offer, so that the citizen can see what we're doing," said Commissioner Joe Maki.

The Citizen's Guide is primarily focused on the costs of the city, where revenue comes from, and how many people the city employs. "This is the dollars and cents of how the city of Gladstone spends your money," said Falcon.

According to the guide, the city hired 30 fewer seasonal workers between 2010 and 2011. Between hiring fewer seasonal workers and a reduction in part-time employees, the cost of paying city employees dropped $101,094.

The guide also shows that while 64 percent of the city's revenue comes from taxes, the biggest expenditure for the city is public health and safety at 45 percent of the budget. General government costs come in second at 32 percent.

While the commission agrees that the information in the Citizen's Guide and other documents is useful, there is some concern over the future of EVIP funding.

The city has lost almost $33,000 in funding since last year, despite the new EVIP document requirements.

"If you start at the year 2004, we've lost $157,000," said Maki in reference to a graph of state shared revenue in the Citizen's Guide. "That's a tremendous amount of money."

Residents can view the Citizen's Guide and other documents by visiting the city's website at Monday night's meeting will be broadcast Oct. 4 on cable channel 12, following the Escanaba City Council meeting.



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