July 2023 Edition

Greetings from the Mayor's Office

As we head into July, the biggest news around City Hall is the passage of our new fiscal year budget. This new budget, which takes effect on July 1, is the largest the City has ever passed at $41 million. For those who might not know how this budget works, there are two key components. The first is our General Fund, which is a little over $23 million for this coming fiscal year. This is what we use to run our day-to-day operations in the City. It's also part of the budget City staff and City Commissioners decide what goes where based on our community's priorities.

For instance, as we add additional staffing or equipment in a specific department, it comes from the General Fund. When we get requests for park and trail improvements, it comes from the General Fund. When we need to buy more salt because of a challenging winter season, it comes from the General Fund. It is also where we keep our ‘rainy day fund’, which we refer to as our Unassigned Fund Balance. Years ago, the City Commission adopted a resolution establishing a minimum of 15% of our General Fund should be kept in reserve. As we all seem to have unexpected expenses come up in our homes at times, we believe in making sure that we have that money set aside so when we need it, it is there.

I would also add that based on community needs, our priorities sometimes shift during a fiscal year, and we need to cover costs related to that. With all that in mind, we enter into our new fiscal year with a conservative fund balance of 32%. The second part of that $41 million budget is dedicated to specific funds, and we do not have flexibility or discretion as they have to be used within those funds. Examples of this include our Major Street Fund, our Local Street Fund, and Downtown Development Authority Fund. Hopefully, this helps to better understand how the City’s budget process works.

Overall, some of the more significant items are increased staffing levels and new equipment in our public safety departments, which maintain themselves as a top priority in our City. To keep pace and get ahead of our growth, there are $5 million in road maintenance and road construction projects budgeted for this year. Additionally, there is no new bond debt incurred in the new budget, and the City continues to be bond debt free. In summary, the execution of our budget strategies continues to work. We maintain a conservative risk-averse approach to our finances and prioritize what matters to our Walker residents and businesses.

The last item for this month is a quick update on the proposed library expansion. The architect and engineering firm has been selected and our City staff has already met multiple times as we move with a sense of urgency to break ground on the project. More to come on this later this year, but it is official – we are making this happen!

As always, thank you for choosing to call Walker home.

Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.

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Upcoming Events

June 27 | Walker After Work

July 6 | Walker Splash Party

July 13 | Summer Concert ft. Greenbridge Band

August 1 | National Night Out

August 10 | Summer Concert ft Kari Holmes

Income Tax Department Updates

Due Dates

Third quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2023 are due October 2, 2023. Forms are available on our website.

Where’s My Refund?

Refunds for 2022 timely filed returns that were correct and complete were issued by June 15, 2023. If you received a letter requesting more information, please respond as soon as possible. If we do not receive the required information, deductions and credits will be disallowed resulting in a lower refund or an assessment. You can provide missing information several ways:

  1. Mail to Walker Income Tax Department, PO Box 153, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0153
  2. Email to incometax@walker.city
  3. Fax to (616) 791-6808
  4. Secure upload site using the link here

If you were expecting a refund, but have received a proposed assessment, please provide the missing information within 30 days.

TurboTax does not e-file with any Michigan city except Detroit. If you used TurboTax to prepare your Walker return, you must mail a full copy, including required attachments to Walker Income Tax Department, PO Box 153, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0153. See the TurboTax instructions for more information.

If you are not sure if you need to file Walker Income Tax returns, the most common questions are answered on our website. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880.

Police Department Updates

Metro High School Police Academy

Walker PD kicked off June by sending officers to be mentors to local youth at the 2023 Metro High School Police Academy. Recruits in the academy get a one-week look into a career in law enforcement. Officer Harkema has taken a leadership role in running the week, while Officer Stahr is heavily involved in the scenario training portions of the week. Det. Sgt. Bartels also joined the recruits for a training block regarding first aid & trauma care. It is a very rewarding week and we are already looking forward to the 2024 session.

Going Hands Free

Michigan recently passed a new “Hand’s Free” law that goes into effect on June 30, 2023. Essentially, it prohibits holding and using a mobile device while driving. Violators can be cited.

To keep up on department news, safety tips, and police-related humor, follow us on Facebook by liking “City of Walker Police Department-Michigan.”

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Thank You!

Thank you to all who joined us at the “Freezin’ with First Responders” event at Double Dip Depot. As a part of our Summer of Safety initiative, Officer Johnson was able to pass out several more bike helmets to those in need. A special thanks to LIME for donating the helmets. Remember, if an officer sees you out & about this summer being safe, you may be rewarded with a free ice cream coupon to Double Dip Depot!

Fire Department Updates

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Celebrate Safely

The City of Walker Fire Department urges you to use caution when using fireworks as part of your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Public Act 256 of the State of Michigan allows for the use of consumer fireworks. Use of fireworks in Walker is regulated by Section 38-16 of the City Ordinance. Some of the highlights of the State law and City ordinance are as follows:

  • The use of fireworks for the July 4 holiday is allowed from June 29 to July 4 after 11:00 am until 11:45 pm.
  • Fireworks cannot be set off after July 4.
  • You must be 18 yrs. or older to purchase consumer fireworks.
  • Use of consumer fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is illegal.
  • Setting off fireworks on public property, in the street, school property, church property, or any other person’s property without permission is prohibited.
  • Please be aware of your neighbors, and the effect your fireworks use has on them.

The Walker Fire Department would prefer that you leave fireworks displays to the professionals and simply enjoy from a distance. But if you choose to set off fireworks as part of your celebration, please use extreme caution.

Grilling Safely

Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors.

Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.

Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Declare a three-foot “safe zone” around the grill.

Use long-handled grilling tools to give you plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.

Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so a hot grill cannot ignite it.

For charcoal grills, make sure you purchase the proper starter fluid, and store the can out of reach of children and away from heat sources.

Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal lighter fluid to get the fire going, and never add lighter fluid to coals that have already been ignited.

As with cooking indoors, when cooking outdoors on the grill you should never leave the grill unattended.

If you live in an apartment, check with the management concerning the rules pertaining to the use of grills on decks or under overhangs. The International Fire Code prohibits the use of open flame grills on balconies. The exception would be grills that use a small one-pound propane bottle. We have required all apartment complexes in Walker to enforce this rule.

Walker Ice and Fitness News


Monday - Friday: 5 am - 9 pm

Weekends: 7 am - 5 pm

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Summer Hockey Camp

The WIFC is hosting Work to Win Hockey Skill Skates on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer! Coach Travis Nichol leads an experienced group of coaches including WIFC Hockey Director, Mike Fountain. Click here to register!

Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey

Join us for the final session of Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey’s 2022-23 Season. Session 6 runs July 12 - August 23 (Wednesday evenings at 6 pm) and the cost is $99 per person. We offer classes for all ages, including adults. Click here to register!

Parks and Recreation

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KDL Walker Branch

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Save these Dates!

Splash Party: Thursday, July 6 at 1:00 p.m.

You’re invited to an outdoor, wild water party with the Walker Fire Department and the Library. Wear your bathing suit or clothes that can get wet and don’t forget your towel and sunscreen. For All Ages.

Gemini Circus Up in the Air: Wednesday, July 12 at 10:00 a.m.

Gemini Circus features twin sisters that provide entertainment through the aerial arts. This show includes both beautiful artistry and thrilling performances. For All Ages.

Tom Plunkard’s Amazing Adventures: Thursday, July 27 at 1:00 p.m.

Brace yourself for a truly amazing and hilarious magic show. This fantastic 45-minute, high-energy presentation will appear to last only as long as it takes you to say, "Abracadabra!" For All Ages.

Free Summer Lunches

We have partnered with Feeding America of West Michigan to provide meals at 15 KDL branches and the Bookmobile. Free lunches for students ages 2-18 (or up to age 26 for people with disabilities) are available Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Walker branch. For more info, please click here.

KDL Vibes

Submissions for KDL Vibes, KDL’s local music streaming service, are open! Now through July 31, West Michigan musicians can submit their own music to be considered by a panel of judges. All selected artists receive a one-time payment of $250, and their music is added to the Vibes platform, joining over 65 other local bands and artists. Click here for more info!