March 2022 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
As we enter the month of March, we can now see more indicators that Spring is right around the corner. Decreasing snow piles, slightly warmer weather and a few other signs validate that we indeed will soon see green grass and flowers. As I reflect on what our winter was, it seemed like until recently it was moderate temperatures and light dustings of snow with bursts of heavy snowfall and artic-like cold. When I consider what that has been, I am even more grateful for our City employees who must react to - or work in - these weather conditions.

I know that I have given recognition to our Department of Public Works many a time, yet it is still not enough. Those quick bursts of inclement weather put far more pressure on our crews because of the intensity in just a short time frame. When necessary this winter, we ran 24-hour shifts to make sure we kept our roads as safe as possible. I was fortunate at times to be back in our garage during shift change. The grit and get-it-done mindset from our crews are examples of what makes Walker such a special place. 

Not to be forgotten in working through those extreme weather conditions are our public safety teams. Both our Fire and Police Departments performed with their usual distinction through the winter months. In an attempt to further support their efforts, I recently asked the City Commission to approve reestablishing what was once our Police and Fire subcommittee. The why behind this is we have been discussing additional staffing and leveraging new technologies to ensure we continue to keep Walker a safe place to live, work, and grow. These discussions, while interdependent of one another, were taking place within different committees which seemed inefficient. To me, the implementation of these ideas is not as simple as just adding new personnel or buying new equipment. It is how we use it and what impact it will have on our community. 

As our City continues to grow at a controlled pace, it is important that our reactions be balanced with the appropriate level of proactive investments. Personally, I am excited about what we are working on and discussing how we can take what is already a great reputation with both departments and further adapt to our evolving needs. Look for some communication around these strategies in the spring and summer months. 

As always, thank you to each of you for making the choice to call Walker home. 
 
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 sgilbert@walker.city

Thom Burke
First Ward Commissioner
*(619) 379-6036 tburke@walker.city

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191 rdeschaine@walker.city
Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313 cglanville@walker.city

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900 echase@walker.city

Melanie Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719 mgrooters@walker.city
Clerk's Department Updates
Election Day is Tuesday
The Special Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 1, to fill the vacancy in the 74th State House District for a partial term. Polls open on Election Day at 7:00 AM and will close at 8:00 PM.
 
An absentee ballot can still be obtained for this election by the voter at the City Clerk’s office until 4:00 PM today (Monday, February 28).
 
You can visit the State of Michigan’s Voter Information Center to verify your voter information, including absentee ballot status.
 
Walker has three more upcoming elections so mark your calendar:
  • May 3, 2022 – Special General Election
  • August 2, 2022 – State and City of Walker Primary Election
  • November 8, 2022 – State and City of Walker General Election
Passports
Are you planning a trip out of the country? Do you have a passport? If not, apply early - at least 4-6 months before your planned travel, with the Walker City Clerk’s office! For those that do have a passport, don’t forget to double check the expiration date on your passport.
 
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 11 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you. If you need your passport expedited, processing time is 5-7 weeks.
Income Tax Department Updates
Do you need help?
Walker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2021 and first quarter estimated payments for 2022 are due May 2, 2022. Forms are available on our website.

The most common questions are answered on our FAQ page. Quarterly estimated payments can be paid by direct withdrawal from a bank account. Forms can be found by clicking on the link above.

Please do not attach your 2022 quarterly estimated vouchers to your 2021 return. Be sure to check your bank account to make sure the amount you requested to pay has been withdrawn. It usually takes between 3 to 7 business days after the date you requested on the voucher. If you don’t see a withdrawal for the amount you requested, contact us at (616) 791-6880.
laptop_typing.jpg
E-Filed Returns:
Did you e-file your 2021 return and it showed that you had a balance due? You may have received an assessment from the Income Tax Department or have a voucher from your tax preparer that shows the amount you owe. All tax due must be postmarked or paid online by May 2, 2022, to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at (616) 791-6866 if you have any questions.

Masking:
We are receiving returns with the social security numbers showing up as all asterisks (***-**-****). We are also seeing taxpayers requesting refunds deposited to bank accounts with account and routing numbers that are masked this same way. We are unable to process tax returns without a full social security number. We cannot direct deposit a refund to your bank account without complete bank account and routing numbers. Please check for these problems before mailing your return.
Required Attachments:
All resident returns must have the following attachments:
  • All form W-2s
  • Page 1 of Federal Form 1040; pages 1 and 2 of Schedule 1, if used

Filers taking a credit for tax paid to another city:
  • Copy of page one of the other city(ies) return

If applicable:
  • Detailed list of employee business expenses
  • Federal Schedule C
  • Federal Schedule D, Forms 8949, 4797, 6252
  • Federal Schedule E, including Federal Schedule K-1 for all S corporations shown on Schedule E, if any
  • Copies of all forms 1099-R for taxpayers under age 65 and form 8915-E

If you have any questions, call (616) 791-6880.
COVID Wage Allocation:
If you are a resident of Walker and you worked in another city with an income tax (Grand Rapids, Ionia, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Lansing, etc.) in prior years, you may have a reduced credit for tax paid to another city in 2021. If you worked from home due to COVID-19 in 2021 and reduced the number of wages on the other city return, you must also reduce the number of wages used to calculate the credit. There is a worksheet on page 2 of the W-1040R resident return that will help with this calculation. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880 if you need more information.
Department of Public Works Updates
Seasonal Weight & Speed Restrictions
It's a sign that spring is around the corner; Seasonal weight and speed restrictions go into effect Tuesday, March 1, at 6 am. According to the Kent County Road Commission, on roads with seasonal restrictions, legal loads must be reduced by approximately 35% and truck vehicle speeds reduced to 35 mph. 

Those with truck-related questions may contact the Michigan Center for Truck Safety at 1-800-MTA- 4MTA (1-800-682-4682), and statewide information regarding seasonal restrictions is available at micountyroads.org.

The KCRC Seasonal Weight and Speed Restriction Hotline is (616) 336-2019.

More information regarding KCRC's Seasonal Weight Restrictions, including the Kent County, Michigan Truck Operator's Map that identifies all-season routes within KCRC's jurisdiction, is available on the kentcountyroads.net.
Fire Department Updates
Outdoor Warning Sirens
Walker has eight outdoor warning sirens located throughout the City. The sirens are tested on the first Friday of each month at 12:00 noon from April through October. The sirens sound off and rotate for three minutes during the test. During the spring and summer months these sirens are used to alert the residents in Walker who may be outdoors of the potential for severe weather (tornados, high winds) that may be eminent within Kent County and the City of Walker.

Currently, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch sets off the sirens when they receive information from the National Weather Service. If the possibility of a high wind warning (winds over 70 mph) or a tornado warning is issued, the sirens will be activated. The sirens, once activated, will sound for three minutes and be followed every 10 to 15 minutes until the warning is canceled. If the sirens are activated other than on the first Friday at noon, please check your smart phone, computer or turn on your television for more weather information.
Avoid Static Electricity at the Gas Pump
The Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of “static” (that is, static electricity) at the gas pumps. They have researched 150 cases of these fires. The results were surprising:
  1. Almost all cases involved people getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When the pump finished fueling they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started as a result of static.
  2. Due to the fact that most men do not get back in their car while fueling, almost all of the cases involved women.
  3. Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
  4. There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, the station, and to the customer.
  5. Seventeen fires occurred before, during, or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.
This is a very dangerous condition that can be avoided with some very simple and practical measures taken when using gas pumps at the local gas station. It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
When Fueling
Never get back into your car while filling it with gas. If you absolutely have to get in your vehicle while gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door, touching the metal, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This will discharge any static from your body.

Make sure you turn your car off when fueling.
Never use a cell phone while fueling.

If you are fueling a gas can make sure you remove it from your vehicle or the back of your pick-up and place it on the ground before filling with gas.

These simple steps will help to minimize the dangers of filling your vehicle or gas can at the pumps.

If you have any questions about these issues or any other fire safety issues feel free to call the Walker Fire Department at 791-6840.
Police Department Updates
Annual Easter Egg Hunt Returns!
We are excited the Walker Easter Egg Hunt is back this year! Mark your calendars for April 9 from 11-Noon near the Walker Ice & Fitness Center. Walker Police, along with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office will be there to help you find eggs, mingle with the Easter Bunny, & HAVE FUN! We will be bringing special prizes, so be on the look out for the golden eggs during your search! Keep an eye on the City’s social media pages for more updates as we get closer to the event.
Scams, Plowing, and Vehicle Theft
PLEASE do not leave your keys in your car, especially when it’s left unattended or running. Get in the habit of taking the keys with you, rolling up windows, and locking doors EVERY TIME you park. We don’t want Walker neighborhoods to be known as easy targets for thieves.

Also, if you receive any type of communication, even if it appears to be from a friend or family member, do not call unknown numbers, reply to odd emails, or click suggested hyperlinks. If it shows from a business or someone you know, CHECK with that person or business before you reply. If anyone requests you send them gift card numbers to settle a debt, ignore it. This is ALWAYS a scam.

Finally, we will surely get some more snow this year. If you plow residentially, please ensure you are not leaving mounds of snow in the roadway. We’ve gotten more complaints than usual about this & are taking enforcement actions as needed.
Walker Ice and Fitness News
Try Hockey for FREE!
Hockey gives children an engaging, fast-paced, healthy alternative to sedentary recreation. If hockey is something your child has always wanted to try, now's the chance to try it FREE.

Saturday, March 5
Noon - 1pm
Ages 4-13
Hockey or bike helmet required - skates are provided.
Click here to register your child today!
Tanning Deals
Get a 'glo before you go! Take advantage of $10 off our tanning punch cards ahead of Spring Break.
Member Appreciation Day We're celebrating our members on Monday, March 7! All day long we will have healthy snacks and waters for our members! 

We will also announce the winners of the Healthy Heart Challenge. 

Thank you for choosing the WIFC as your workout facility and we love our Gym Family!!
Parks and Recreation
Memorial Day Parade
The Memorial Day Parade has been a Walker tradition for many, many years. Please join us in honoring those veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. All Veterans, bands, floats, scout troops, businesses and organizations are invited to participate in this year’s parade. The Memorial Day parade is on Monday, May 30 at 12:00 noon on Remembrance Road. The deadline to register for the parade is Monday, May 2, 2022. Entry forms are available via our online registration portal.
KDL Walker Branch News
Sensory Storytime
Designed for children that may need extra sensory support, Sensory Storytime combines traditional storytime components with sensory elements to enhance the experience… all from the comfort of your own home.
Each season, a new full-length storytime video will be available online, as well as individual bite-size segments that feature flannel board stories, rhymes, songs, and fingerplays. This allows children to either view an entire storytime from start to finish or mix and match the segments they like best and watch as many times as they desire.
A printable Resource Guide for parents and caregivers is available online, along with the video links. This guide includes ways to make sensory elements and tools out of common household items, ideas for enrichment activities and sensory crafts, and a sensory-friendly recommended reading list.
Kanopy
Anyone with a Kent District Library card can now enjoy thousands of free videos from Kanopy, a new streaming collection of high-quality films that inspire, educate and entertain. Kanopy’s unique selection offers something for everyone, from award-winning indie films to important and timely documentaries, to foreign films, popular cinema, children’s shows, and more with the ease of watching on TV and a wide range of other types of devices.

Family-Friendly and Convenient Features
  • Kanopy Kids features a collection of films and TV series that inspire and inform, helping children develop social-emotional skills and reinforcing valuable learning topics, such as history, science, and new languages. KDL patrons can enjoy unlimited plays in Kanopy Kids.
  • The Kanopy app is available on iOS and Android along with all major streaming devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV.
Events are Blooming
KDL will be offering a combination of virtual and in-person spring programming! Visit our Events page for more information.

Our featured Walker Branch event is Green Cleaning Workshop!
Wednesday, March 16
6:30 pm
Suitable for Adults (18+)

When improperly disposed of household cleaners can cause harm to the environment. Learn about homemade, green cleaning products that will make your household sparkle and reduce your footprint on the earth. Children are welcome to attend and will be provided with activities.
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!