Winter 2014
Spotlight on...Kentwood


 

Table of Contents

From the Office of the Mayor
 

Dear Kentwood Citizens,

I just have to shake my head as I write to you with my eyes on the computer screen and my peripheral vision on the twelve (12) plus inches of snow laying on the ground. Can you believe this? I trust that as you are reading these words,  the temperatures will have increased, snow melted, and maybe we will have warmer weather to enjoy before winter technically begins. Whatever the conditions outside, I truly believe that we have so many things to be thankful for in this season of thanksgiving and celebration of giving.

I am thankful for our freedom paid at a high cost. I am thankful for those that paid for that freedom at the ultimate cost. I will continue to lift in prayer, the families that lost a loved one fighting for our country.  Life is so precious and here in Kentwood, we invest in life each and every day through our schools, our services, and our relationships with one another. We should never take for granted the freedom that we so readily enjoy.

This year brought many changes to the inner workings of Kentwood   government.  Many departments have, or will have new management due to retirements. We are grateful for the work accomplished by Director of Public Works Ron Woods, Court Administrator Deb Clanton, and Director of Parks & Recreation Charlie Ziesemer. Deb’s involvement with investing in those that need guidance along with a chance to succeed is greatly appreciated.  Many lives have been impacted by her leadership.

Many major projects were completed under Ron’s leadership including the building of the Justice Center, Library, DPW facility, water pump station, sanitary lift station, the remodel of City Hall, and reconstruction of numerous road projects (including Kalamazoo, Breton, and Forest Hill Avenues). Ron and Charlie teamed on multiple park projects, Paul Henry walking trail, and splash pads. Kentwood is blessed with sound infrastructure and the amenities that make our city a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

The new year will bring many opportunities to build on past successes. We are excited to have our new Parks & Recreation Director, Val Romeo, and Court Administrator, Michele White on board. We will formally appoint a new Department of Public Works Director soon. Our financial picture continues to improve with each implemented efficiency bringing cost savings to our citizens without  sacrificing service. I look forward to meeting new Kentwood residents and welcoming new businesses that choose Kentwood as their home.

Blessings to you, your family, and your business!

Mayor Kepley
 

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Your City Elected Officials

 

Stephen Kepley
Mayor
616.698.9610
mayor@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Sharon Brinks
Commissioner-at-Large
616.881.9860
brinkss@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Robert Coughlin
1st Ward Commissioner
616.827.0839
coughlinr@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Betsy Artz
Commissioner-at-Large
616.260.0181
artzb@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Michael Brown
2nd Ward Commissioner
616.698.2522
brownm@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Erwin Haas
2nd Ward Commissioner
616.666.9678
haase@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Gerald (Jerry) DeMaagd
1st Ward Commissioner
616.455.3216
demaagd@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Dan Kasunic
City Clerk
616.554.0730
kasunicd@ci.kentwood.mi.us
Laurie Sheldon
City Treasurer
616.554.0763
sheldonl@ci.kentwood.mi.us

 


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Happenings At The Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch Library - Winter 2014

Is the the wintery weather keeping you homebound, or are you far away on vacation? Do you need a book or entertainment right away? Check  out www.kdl.org/downloads for free eBook,  movie (hoopla), music (freegal), and magazine  (zinio)  downloads. There is no need to scrape off your car and drive to the library, or worry about returning your library materials on time.  With your KDL library card all these things and more are available to you from anywhere!

Happy “Noon” Year!

With thanks to the Friends of the Kentwood  Library, the Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch is hosting two fun events for kids and families over the holiday break.

On Saturday,  December 27 at 11:00 AM, join us for a Wii gaming tournament with prizes and snacks for grades K -12 (two age divisions).  Preregistration is required for this program.

We will  be celebrating a Countdown to the “Noon” Year with treats, noisemakers and fun activities at 11:30 AM on Wednesday, December 31! This event is for the whole family.

Call 784-2007 for more information on library events and services.
 
Cheryl Cammenga
Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch Manager


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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Winter Tax Information

Winter property tax bills were issued December  1st and are due February 14, 2015. This bill represents the 2014 winter tax. The City Assessor determines the value of the property on Dec 31st of each year. The following calendar year the tax bill is issued in 2 installments; summer in July & winter in December. Most of the annual tax (up to 75-85%*) is levied on the summer bill. The remainder is billed December. This bill levies the tax for the taxing  authorities referenced on the bill (1/2 of the local school, non-operating County and all of the Kent District Library tax. (*depending on PRE/MBT % status). The tax bills do not cover specific months,  but rather, levy different taxes due for the entire year. The total of the 2 bills is the annual property tax due for 2014.

A 3% penalty will be assessed regardless of the circumstances for tax bills paid after February 14th. Payments must  be received at the lockbox,  Treasurer’s Office,  or City Hall dropbox by 5:00p.m. on the due date; postmarks cannot be accepted as date of payment.

Payments  are posted immediately  upon  receipt in the Treasurer’s Office and may be viewed  on the City’s website: www.ci.kentwood.mi.us (Left side of home page under Quick  Links-  click on Tax/Water Info & Payments)

The last day real estate tax payments  can be accepted by the City of Kentwood  is February 28, 2015. All real estate tax unpaid by February 28, 2015 will be turned over as delinquent  to the Kent County Treasurer for collection as mandated   by Michigan Property Tax Law. Delinquent personal property tax payments are collected by the City of Kentwood.

Convenient Payment Options:
•  The non-cash Teller Tube and 24 hour payment  drop box located off Breton entrance between City Hall and the Library
•  Cash, Check or Credit  Cards  are accepted at City Hall Monday- Friday 8am -5pm
•  Online at www.ci.kentwood.mi.us
•  By phone 1-844-400-3552

Fee to use Credit or Debit Cards is 3% of the payment or a minimum  of $2

Feel free to contact the Treasurer’s Office at (616)554-0761 with any additional questions


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Personal Property 2015 Filing Requirements

Michigan property tax laws have required the assessing and taxation  of the furniture, machinery and equipment of businesses  since the  1800’s. For  2015, all  owners  of business  personal property in Michigan must continue to file the appropriate forms with the assessor where  the property is located on December 31, 2014.

Beginning  last 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  filed the Michigan State Tax Commission’s affidavit. This exemption continues in 2015. Exemption  affidavits must be fully completed and in the assessor’s hands by February 10.

To determine  whether  or not a business  qualifies  for the exemption, it may be necessary to complete the “2015 Personal Property Statement” (Department of Treasury Form 632). If the total value (including related entities) after applying the published multipliers to owned, used and leased equipment   original costs is less than $80,000, 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 this  year. Filings received after February 10 cannot be processed and a Personal Property Statement  must be filed by February 20.

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, 2015 to those entities  believed to have  reportable personal property in the City of Kentwood   as of December 31, 2014. The letters will include the correct parcel number   and the name  of the business  on our records to be used in the completion of the appropriate form(s). Report corrections to names and mailing  addresses on submitted forms. Owners are responsible to timely file even if not in receipt of the letter.

Those  businesses who have owned,  leased, or borrowed personal property with a True  Cash  Value of $80,000 or more must continue to complete the “2015 Personal Property Statement” due on February 20. Additionally, manufacturers may be required to complete Treasury form 5201 beginning this year. Refer to instructions.

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

For a video discussion, check out: http://mediasite.mihealth.org/Mediasite/Play/44d11
7251a324befa28c7c582132cea11d
 

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Spotlight Winter News

SIDEWALK SNOW REMOVAL

Please take the time to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalk running along your property. Especially within the first 24hrs after it has snowed.  Our ordinance reads; “Any accumulation of two or more inches of snow shall be considered sufficient to impair or impede free passage. Such accumulation must be removed within 24 hours after the cessation of snowfall. Remember, failure do to so could result in a Fine of $65. If you have a neighbor that is elderly or handicapped, please also consider lending them a helping hand.  Under winter conditions it is desirable for those walking or using a wheelchair to use the sidewalk as opposed to sharing the snowy, slippery streets with cars and trucks.

CLEAR STREETS, WINTER PARKING RULES AND YOU!

It’s that time of year again where we will soon see the snow plows out clearing our streets. Kentwood’s Winter Parking Rules are intended to assist the City’s Department of Public Works in clearing our streets of snow.  Vehicles may not be parked on City streets between 1AM and 8AM from Nov. 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. The fine for violating this ordinance is $20. The Department of Public Works and your Police Department greatly appreciates your assistance in cleaning our streets.

AVOID COMMON WINTER CAR THEFT. DON’T BE A VICTIM

On a cold winter’s day are you tempted to let your car “warm-up” by letting it idle, unattended in your driveway? Every year we investigate car thefts as a result of cars “warming up” unattended in a driveway.  Also; Please NEVER  warm up your  car in a closed garage; carbon monoxide poisoning is possible.

 

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Kentwood Recreation Department Events

December 3 • Elves Express Shop • 4-8pm (KAC)

December 3 • Annual Tree Lighting • 6-8pm (KAC) FREE, Candy Cane Hunt at 6pm

December 12 • Kentwood Seniors Chorale Community  Christmas Concert • 7pm (HBC)
 

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Kentwood EDC Adopts Strategic Plan

The Kentwood Economic Development  Corporation (EDC) has adopted  a Strategic Plan to direct economic development  activities in the next five years, with the goal of keeping the city a successful and  vibrant  place for business activity.  The Plan will address key areas of economic development activities, including Government Relations, Business Tools, and Communications.

The Government  Relations  portion of the plan uses the EDC as a conduit  between  local business leaders, legislators, and local economic development   organizations   such as the Right Place, Inc. or the Chamber  of Commerce.  The goal is awareness and enactment  of policies that support the retention and expansion  of our local Kentwood  businesses.

The Business Tools portion  of the Strategic Plan  disseminates  necessary information  to the business community,  including the tools and incentives available from federal, state,  and local resources. At the center of this communication  effort is the continuation  of the Business  Retention Program in which staff members conduct site visits to major employers.

Finally, the Communications   portion of the Strategic  Plan identifies  ways to promote Kentwood  as a community  open to business,  fair to developers and welcome to all. A portion of the communications involves social media and branding to maintain Kentwood’s “Open  for Business” approach.

Contact Lisa Golder (616) 554-0709 if you have any questions.
 

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Celebrating Our Retirees!

Ronald Woods

Director of Public Works
17 Years of Service

Penny Thomas

Detective Bureau Secretary
36 Years of Service

Deborah Clanton

Court Administrator/ Magistrate
30 Years of Service

Brian Berry

Police Officer
28 Years of Service



 

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Kentwood Newsletter Archive

12/20/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Winter 2013
4/1/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Spring 2014
7/15/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Summer 2014
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