Winter 2013
Spotlight on...Kentwood


 

Table of Contents

From the Office of the Mayor
 

To my Kentwood community, I truly hope all is well with you and your family as we enter the Holiday Season! I am personally looking forward to spending time with family and friends after being away from home for the past five months meeting many of you in our community.

As I have entered the mayoral role I am very eager to implement action steps focusing on Public Safety sustainability, business growth, and neighborhood improvement and will do so after the initial internal listening tour of the City. As Mayor, my first goal for the next several months is to listen and observe. Having spent five months going door-to-door and listening to 1,000s of Kentwood residents, I have turned my attention to individual departments, the business community, and other elected officials to listen to their concerns and problems that face the City. It is my goal to clearly understand the issues facing Kentwood and to identify the scope and action steps needed to achieve the changes necessary to make lasting improvements.

In the next several weeks I will be spending time with the Police and Fire Department personnel to better understand the responsibilities and challenges that these departments face on a day-to-day basis. I have and will be meeting with individual business owners to understand the challenges they face in their competitive markets. I will also be setting time aside to meet with our neighboring community leaders to see how best we can assist one another to achieve common goals.

If I or the City can be of assistance, please contact me either by e-mail at mayor@ ci.kentwood.mi.us or via cell number at 616.540.3485. May you all have a wonderful Holiday Season full of peace and joy!

Blessings to you, your family, and Kentwood’s business community!
 

Stephen Kepley, Mayor
City of Kentwood, Michigan

 

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New Director of Engineering and Inspection

TIM BRADSHAW APPOINTED AS DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING AND INSPECTION

Tim Bradshaw, previously the Assistant City Engineer since 2011, has been appointed as Kentwood’s new Director of Engineering and Inspections. Tim received a B.S. in Civil Engineering at Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Tim was awarded the State of Michigan Young Civil Engineer of the Year in 2013 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Congratulations Tim!


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Happenings At The Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch Library

The library is once again partnering with for Toys for Tots this holiday season. We have a box inside the library where you may drop an unwrapped toy or book for a needy child in our community.

Visit the library this winter for books, movies, music, computers, programs and quiet spaces to study or read. But, if you do not want to leave home during the cold and snowy weather, big news! We’ve been offering free downloads  of eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines and music for a while, and now we have something new to add to the mix. We are thrilled to announce that KDL cardholders can now stream movies and television shows for free through hoopla , a library-based video streaming service! Hoopla specializes in educational movies, documentaries, foreign and independent films, and children’s and family content. Hoopla has a database of over 10,000 movies and they add new content monthly.

Check www.kdl.org  for more information on these services and on everything we are doing at Kent District Library.

Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch
4950 Breton, SE
Monday –Thursday 9:30-8:00 pm
Friday, Saturday 9:30 -5:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM


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Non-Motorized Trail Plan

In the past 20 years the city has made a significant investment of time and money to establish a system of sidewalk and paved trails throughout the community. Based on Parks and Recreation Department surveys, this sidewalk and trail system is considered a valuable asset to the community that should continue to be maintained and expanded in the years ahead. The plan is intended to identify where new facilities could be developed to fill in gaps within the city as well as interconnect with surrounding communities and the overall West Michigan area.

In the coming months city staff will be reaching out to the community to obtain feedback on the draft plan to make sure it is responsive to the needs of our entire community. We encourage you to express your opinion. If you have any questions, please contact Terry Schweitzer, Community Development Director, at 554-0710.


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2013 Winter Property Tax Bills

Winter 2013 property tax bills were issued December 1 and are due upon receipt and considered past due if not received in the Treasurer’s Office by, February 14, 2014. Postmarks are not accepted and penalty will be assessed on all payments received after February 14, 2014. On March 1 unpaid real estate taxes are turned over to the Kent County Treasurer for collection and can no longer be paid to the City of Kentwood.

INTERNET TAX INFORMATION & PAYMENT STATUS: Property tax information and “real-time” payment posting may be viewed on the City’s website, www.ci.kentwood.mi.us. Payments are posted immediately upon receipt. On the Home page, under ‘Quick Links’, click on Tax/Assessing information. For best results, use only the property parcel number when searching.

CONVENIENT PAYMENT OPTIONS: Two remote payment options are available at City Hall. A 24-hour “Payment” box can be utilized at any time. Enclose payment in an envelope and deposit in the box marked “Water & Tax Payments”. During business hours an attended payment “tube” is activated, as well. No cash
payments
may be made using these remote options and anything other than a simple transaction, kindly come into the office.

Credit card payments may be made online on the City’s website at www.ci.kentwood.mi.us or by phone at 1-888-2PAYTAX (1- 888-272-9829) - jurisdiction code 3236. A convenience fee will be charged by Official Payments and will be disclosed before completing the transaction. Credit or debit cards are not accepted at the Treasurer’s Office. For your safety and ours, we strongly encourage payment in the form of a check or certified funds, in lieu of cash. To expedite processing, kindly return the remittance copy provided and, please, no staples or paperclips!

IF A PAID RECEIPT IS DESIRED, when paying in person, please bring the entire tax bill and we will receipt the “taxpayer” copy for you. If paying by mail, please enclose the entire tax bill along with a self addressed stamped envelope. The top portion will be receipted and returned to you in your SASE. To save a stamp, you may view your payment online and print as your receipt.

Additional questions? Contact the City Treasurer’s Office at (616) 554-0761.
 

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Winter Parking Rules


With the onset of fall and winter, the Police Department and the 62-B District Court wish to remind citizens that parking is prohibited during hours that could impair or impede snow removal. The fines for parking tickets in violation of this ordinance are $20. Signs are posted at most of the major streets entering the city limits reminding citizens of our local ordinance that outlines the requirements in Kentwood: Vehicles may not be parked on city streets between 1:00am and 8:00am from November 15 to March 15 (whether there is snow on the ground or not), or at any other times when on-street parking could impair or impede snowplowing, cleaning or maintenance operations.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this ordinance! It greatly eases the work of our Department of Public Works employees in cleaning our streets.
 

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100% Disabled Veterans Exemption


New Michigan legislation allows for a property tax exemption for the homestead of a 100% disabled veteran. It also extends the exemption to a veteran certified as “individually unemployable”. These are in addition to the exemption of specially adapted housing for veterans. If you or your spouse qualifies, forms are available in the Assessor’s Office to apply for the exemption. If filed by December 9, 2013 it is possible you may receive a 2013 exemption.
 

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A Message from the Kentwood Fire Department


Another Winter Season has come, bringing with it Christmas time, family gatherings and extended periods in our warm homes. We can make our winter season a safe season by taking a few precautionary steps.

First if you are decorating a real Christmas tree in your home. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily. Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

The next thing we need to do is make sure that our smoke alarms are working properly. You should test them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most often the test method is to push the button on the face of the smoke alarm and if the alarms sounds the smoke alarm is operational. If the alarm does not sound you should change the battery right away and retest it, if it still does not alarm you should replace the smoke alarm. Please remember that smoke alarms just like batteries have a life span. Smoke alarms are typically good for ten years and then the entire unit should be replaced.

One of the leading causes of home fires are fires as a result of cooking. We can take a few simple steps that provide great benefit to our safety. Never leaver food cooking on the stove while you are not in the room. Always keep a 3 foot kid’s free zone around the stove. Keep towels, oven mitts and anything else that can catch fire away from the burners while you are cooking and keep a lid for the pot you are cooking with nearby to cover the pot if a fire occurs.

The City of Kentwood Fire Department is committed to your safety, if you need smoke alarms please call the Fire Department at 554-0800 and we will set up an appointment to install smoke alarms in your home at no charge to you. We will also check and replace batteries in the smoke alarms you already have. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.
 

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Submission for Winter 2013 Spotlight from Deb Ring (City Assessor):


“Eligible Personal Property Exemption” Changes Filing Requirements
 
Michigan property tax laws have required the assessing and taxation of the furniture, machinery and equipment of businesses since the 1800’s. A 2013 change in the law will impact how smaller businesses file their annual reports to assessors.

Beginning with the 2014 assessment year, those businesses with less than $80,000 True Cash Value of personal property owned, leased or used by them (or any related entity) within a tax-collecting municipality could qualify for an exemption if they timely file the new affidavit developed by the Michigan State Tax Commission. To determine whether or not a business qualifies for the exemption, they may need to complete the “2014 Personal Property Statement” (Department of Treasury Form 632). If the total value after applying the published multipliers to owned, used and leased equipment original costs is less than $80,000, the new Department of Treasury Form 5076 “Affidavit of Owner of Eligible Personal Property Claiming Exemption”  may be filed no later than February 10 to claim the exemption from personal property taxes for that year.

Since both forms are available on-line where they can be filled out more easily than the paper copies of the past, the City of Kentwood will be mailing informational letters January 2, 2014 to those entities believed to have reportable personal property in the City of Kentwood as of December 31, 2013. The letters will include the correct parcel number and the name of the business according to our records to be used in the completion of the appropriate form(s).

Those businesses who have personal property with a True Cash Value of $80,000 or more must continue to complete the “2014 Personal Property Statement”  due on February 20.

Any business owner who requires a hard copy of the form may contact the Assessor’s Office at Kentwood City Hall and arrangements will be made to get the forms into his/her hands. Questions may also be directed to our office. Contact us at or (616)554-0723.

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Leisure Time Happenings

PARKS & RECREATION, Winter Edition

Introducing “Light the Spark Campaign!”
A series of 7 events to raise funds for the 4th of July Fireworks and Celebration. This is your chance to support your community and have a blast doing it! With 7 exciting events, there is something for everyone! Call the Recreation Department for details! 616-656-5270.
Events include:    • Euchre Tournament     • Bowl-A-Thon
                                • Taste of Kentwood       • Zumba-thon
                                • Road Rally                     • Golf Outing
                                • Softball Tournament

Winter Youth Basketball:  
With the help of the NBA/WNBA we are able to offer an excellent, challenging and fun basketball experience for your child. We encourage good sportsmanship, stress free environment and every child has a change to play!
Date: January 11-March 15
Times: Vary
Sties: Vary
Grades: Kindergarten through 6th grade

NEW!!! Insanity!
Join us for the Insanity Workout! Certified Insanity Instructor, Ray Shonk will get you through the winter blues with this sweat dripping, heart pumping, high intensity workout!
Date: January 6-27, February 3-24, March 3-31
Time: 6-6:30 or 6:35-7:05
Site: Kentwood Activities Center

Winter Dodge ball and Volleyball Leagues:
Get your co-ed teams together for fun league play! Call the Recreation Department for details on times, fees, etc.

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Kentwood Newsletter Archive

4/10/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Spring 2013
7/5/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Summer 2013
9/10/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Fall 2013
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