December 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
Wow! Where did the time go in the last few months? It is hard to believe that we are rapidly approaching the end of 2021. In my November newsletter, I shared a message with the theme of taking 10 minutes to thank 10 people in our community. I hoped to give us pause to slow down and thank the endless people in our community who selflessly give with the intent of serving others. Thank you to those who made the extra effort to do so as it was humbling to hear some of the stories of that gratitude being shared. In a similar spirit, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one that I believe we need to double down on our efforts of reflection and gratitude for the many gifts we are given. Then, with deliberate intent, we should make every effort to return those gifts to others.

With the inevitable Michigan winter on our doorstep, I am reminded of one of the best gifts we can be given this time of year: safe travel. I am reminded daily in many ways of the gift of having the best Department of Public Works (DPW) in West Michigan. This is saying a lot as we know there are many good public works departments in the area. However, anyone who lives or works in Walker can confidently say they know when they are within the Walker city limits. This isn’t just in winter, yet we tend to notice it more than in other seasons. In our winter months, there is no better sight than seeing those yellow DPW trucks with the Walker City logo clearing the snow from our streets and laying a generous amount of road salt down. I should also mention they do it at all hours of day and night and in the worst of weather conditions. I also take comfort in looking at a nearly three-story-high salt barn in the public works yard having been full of salt for months now. Because of their proactive planning, our DPW is always ready for anything they will need to react to this winter to ensure our safe travels through Walker.

The final plans for Walker’s Winterfest on December 2 are set and in place. We cannot say thank you enough to our City staff for putting together another great community and family-friendly event that has come to represent Walker. We hope that if you are comfortable in joining us that you will do so as there is something for everyone.

I always end my newsletter thanking each of you for choosing to call Walker home. In that spirit of gifting, I would like to say thank you for giving our community the gift of your presence as a resident or business in Walker. There are other good choices in our area where one could live, work, and grow. Thank you for that gift that keeps on giving.

From my family to all of yours, here is wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.

Mayor Gary L. Carey, Jr.
Contact Your Commissioners
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
(616) 292-1715

Steven Gilbert
Mayor Pro Tem
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 828-7763

Thom Burke
First Ward Commissioner
(619) 379-6036

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191
Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900

Melaine Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719
Income Tax Department Updates

Due Dates
Fourth quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2021 are due January 31, 2022.
2021 Individual resident and non-resident returns are due May 2, 2022. Forms are available on our website.

Forgotten Returns
If you have past years of Walker returns that you have forgotten to file, contact the tax department immediately at 616-791-6880. If you file prior year returns and pay the tax and interest due, you may request a waiver of penalty. If the tax department contacts you first regarding unfiled returns, you will not be eligible for a waiver of penalty.
We are electronically matching State of Michigan returns filed from a Walker resident address with Walker returns filed. If you have forgotten to file Walker returns from prior years, now is the time to get that cleared up before the letters go out from this matching program.
If you are not sure if you need to file Walker Income Tax returns, the most common questions are answered on our FAQ page. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880.
Department of Public Works Updates
Christmas Tree Recycling
Takes place December 26 - January 15.

Walker City Hall - 4243 Remembrance Rd. N.W. Walker Community Park - 650 Cummings N.W. Walker Fire Station #3 - 1470 Three Mile Rd. N.W.

Please note this is open to Walker residents only. Trees only, no plastic.

Snow Removal
One of the biggest concerns of our snowplow operators is the safety of children waiting for the school bus or playing near the road. Even at residential speeds, the force of the snow coming off the plow is quite powerful. Additionally, ice chunks and road debris are often mixed in with the snow. Our operators do their very best to watch for children and adjust their speed and/or path to keep them safe. You can help us keep our snow removal operations safe and efficient by reminding your children of the following:
  • When waiting for the school bus, please stand back by the sidewalk and give the snowplow plenty of room.
  • When the snowplow comes by your house, please don’t play in the snowbanks by the road.
  • Please remove all objects from the road, such as portable basketball hoops, so it is easier for the snowplow drivers to clear the road.
Fire Department Updates
Put a Freeze on Winter Fires
Home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. As you stay cozy and warm this winter, be fire smart:
  • Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.
  • One in every 7 home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths involves heating equipment.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.
  • Keep portable generators outside away from windows and as far away from your home as possible.
  • Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
  • Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings. 
Information provided by FEMA and NFPA.
Christmas Tree Safety
As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

Picking the Tree:
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the Tree:
  • 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.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the Tree
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instruction for number of lights strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. •
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas:
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Info provided by
Police Department Updates
Life-Saving Recognition
At last week's City Commission meeting, we were honored to recognize two citizens, as well as a few of our officers, who saved the life of another.

On September 3, Officer Bindus was responded to a single-car crash. Lori Quist had been driving the vehicle when she went into cardiac arrest and crashed. The crash was observed by another motorist, Derek Mulvey, who stayed on the scene.

Quickly realizing Lori was suffering from a medical emergency, Officer Bindus broke the window to gain access to Lori. Officer Bindus & Derek began life-saving efforts and were joined by another resident, Bridget Engelsma, who continued CPR until Officer Stahr, Corporal Jeltema & Sgt. Bartels (not pictured) arrived to assist.

Lori was transported to a local hospital & has since made a full recovery.

The citizens were awarded plaques to commemorate their role in this life-saving effort. Officers will receive a department-issued Life Saving Award at an event in 2022.

Congrats to all on this well-deserved recognition & we are so thankful Lori was able to enjoy the holidays with her family!
Crime Never Takes a Holiday

  • Keep doors & windows locked. Pay close attention to sliding doors, which are often overlooked when locking up a home. Also be sure garages, sheds, and other outbuildings are locked as well.
  • Always lock your car when it is left unattended. Even if it's ‘just for a minute” while it's warming up or you run into a store.
  • Never leave items of value visible inside your car. Never leave keys, wallets, or small items of value visible & close to your home doors or windows. This invites thieves to attempt a “smash & grab.”

  • When shopping for high-dollar gifts, consider dropping them off back at home rather than running continued errands with the items in plain sight.

  • Invest in a video doorbell or home security camera. If we can’t catch them in the act, this gives police the best chance at identifying thieves.

  • Encourage your neighbors to follow these tips as well. Organize a community group specific to your area to watch out for each other. Next Door and Facebook are great apps to use in a social media world.
  • Report suspicious activity as it occurs. If it strikes you odd, call 911. Officers would rather come out and find that it's nothing than respond to a home invasion where a neighbor comes out and says “oh I saw some weird guy fiddling with the door, but I didn’t think to call," for example.
  • Remember that Walker is not immune to crime. Common sense prevention methods, as listed above, are the best ways to deter crime from returning to our area for repeat offenses.
Walker Ice and Fitness News
Neon NYE Skating Party
Looking for something fun to do to ring in the new year? Join us on New Year’s Eve for Open Skate! From 5pm-7pm we’ll have music, party favors and more! The cost is just $10 per person which includes skate rental! Wear your neon colors and let’s skate into the new year. Fun for the whole family! No sign up required.
Clerk's Department Updates
The Walker City Clerk's Office is an official passport acceptance agency. You can have your passport photo taken here and apply for your passport! No appointment is necessary during the following passport hours:

Mondays – Thursdays: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Fridays: 7:30 am – 11:00 am.

Please call (616) 791-6865 prior to coming to confirm a processing agent is available and that you have all the proper paperwork with you, including checks for payment.
Please note: Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process. Please allow at least 16 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you. If you need your passport expedited, processing time is 8-12 weeks.
Friends of Walker Trails News
Are you following the Friends of Walker Trails on Facebook? Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!