Snyder Talks to Local Leaders

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

It's a place the new governor just might feel the most at ease, in a board room, talking business.

"We've got a pile of problems," Snyder said Friday, "I want to prioritize those problems and then start knocking them off."

He was at the Michigan Municipal League's first board meeting of the year Friday to start a dialog, he said, with local leaders.

"Given the circumstances, we have to look at service sharing, service consolidation, and how we can be more cost effective and work better together," Snyder said.

It's no secret, with a $1.8 billion budget deficit this year, there are challenges. Local municipalities worry revenue sharing might get slashed altogether.

"There's a great deal of fear," Executive Director of the MML Dan Gilmartin said. "We've got communities throughout the state that have been absorbing revenue sharing cuts for a decade now."

Snyder though, did not give specific numbers.

"We'll have a budget out in mid-February that will answer those questions," he said.

What Snyder did say Friday is that he plans to give out incentives to those places that effectively consolidate and share resources. He also challenged those in the room to come up better ideas of doing business and saving money.

It seems local leaders were happy to have this conversation with the governor.

"This is the first time in my 26 year career a governor has come to a meeting like this and answered questions," Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg said.

Everyone agrees the budget process won't be easy, but many seemed to be inspired by Snyder's challenge and comforted in the fact that this governor seems willing to listen to suggestion.

Local leaders plan to meet Wednesday morning at the Municipal League to start brainstorming ideas that they will eventually share with the govenor.


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