Gladstone: State support lacking

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone City Commission discussed the lack of financial support from the state and approved submission of EVIP documents during its regular meeting Monday night.

The Economic Vitality Incentive Program, commonly referred to as EVIP and formerly known as “statutory revenue sharing,” is the state program for re-disbursing funding collected by the state through various taxes back to local units of government.

Municipalities must submit three sets of documents to the Michigan Department of Treasury. The first set of documents, known as EVIP I, is due Oct. 31. Included in this submission are the Citizens Guide and dashboard, which provide a detailed overview of city operations and financial status and history, and a projected budget report. These documents are available either at city hall or on the city’s website at

“It is kind of nice for us as commissioners to be able to look at this and have an idea where we’re headed,” said Commissioner Hugo Mattonen.

City Manager Darla Falcon echoed the sentiment.

“There’s some really good tables that I refer to quite frequently throughout the year. There’s some really good info about how the last fiscal years ended,” she said.

According to Commissioner Joe Maki, the state legislature has approved a 4.8 percent increase in revenue sharing to be passed on to local units of government.

“I guess there was … a little bit of an argument on whether they should or not – whether they should find another home for the money – so we are going to get a little bit more money this year,” said Maki.

Falcon, Maki and Mattonen discussed their trip to the Michigan Municipal League conference, held Sept. 17-20 in Detroit, and the way Detroit and other Michigan municipalities are handling funding issues.

“Detroit is important to Michigan,” said Maki. “Of course what happens in bankruptcy is going to have a precedent-setting effect for other municipalities in Michigan, because as I said earlier in this meeting, one of the leading causes, from all the empirical analysis, is that municipalities have found themselves in financial crisis because of lack of support from state government.”

While Mattonen noted the importance of partnerships with private companies and with other municipal groups as a positive message at the conference, he expressed his disappointment with the lack of support from the state.

“I’m still a little bit disappointed with the lack of willingness of the state legislatures – state government in general – to help us out with certain priority issues like transportation and more revenue sharing,” he said.

Despite the revenue issues facing communities across the state, Maki noted Gladstone is working towards other goals – such as placemaking, developing public spaces that community members want to visit.

“I think we are looking forward, with very limited revenues. I don’t think Gladstone is atypical,” said Maki. “I think we’re in the same boat that a lot of communities are in, but I heard a lot of communities who’s balance sheet probably doesn’t look as good as ours.”

The city received an economic boost for it’s downtown during the meeting when the commission accepted a $1,000 donation to the Downtown Development Authority through the WPPI Energy Economic Development fund from Alger Delta Electric.

“As a resident of the city we thought it would be appropriate to make a donation to the Downtown Development Authority,” said Tom Harrell of Alger Delta Electric. “We appreciate the work they do and the different things we’ve seen developing downtown.”

Also during the meeting it was noted a production crew will be in the city today filming for the city’s upcoming Communities of Distinction television spot. The city contracted with Communities of Distinction for a five minute segment of the 30 minute program for $24,800 in June.