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Local InterestBY JESSICA VANDERKOLKCity of Battle Creek Communications ManagerThe City of Battle Creek and our entire commu- nity of neighbors have so much to be proud of this year. Our community outreach initiative – #HappeningBCtwo businesses that started even smaller by incubating last year in the BC Cargo shops at the corner of Hamblin Avenue and McCamly Streets. We are happyThere’s a Whole Lot Happening in Battle Creek!The All-America City Team– speaks to the accolades, development, and progress related to the many great things happening in Battle Creek.While some projects scheduledfor this year have experienced higher construction bids than expected, or other obstacles, we know that these projects can be immensely complicated, requiring extra time to reach fruition. However,we continue to see forward progress for projects including The Milton (former- ly Heritage Tower), Battle Rock, New Holland Brewing, the Record Box, and Handmap Brewing, and many more.For everything happening throughout the city, we hope neighbors and visi- tors will reference the large, full-color brochure mailed out this spring. You will find information on concerts, festivals, art exhibits, Willard Library programs, athletic events, and so much more, hap- pening throughout the Commissioner Lynn Ward Gray, Finance Director Linda Morrison, and City Manager Rebecca Fleury, to learn more about the city’s budget process.The brochure is available on the city’s website,, under the Explore Battle Creek tab. Follow the city, and other community agencies, on social media to see event reminders and promotions. We all look forward to seeing you in Battle Creek!We have much to talk about again this year related to economic develop- ment. Many projects we have discussed previously have continued to make great progress and, while some have experienced temporary delays, they all continue to move forward. Battle Creek has much to look forward to this year.Battle Creek has much to celebrate this year, coming home in late June as one of only 10 All-America City recip- ients for 2019. The theme for this year’s award, presented by the National Civic League, was using civic engagement to create healthy communities. The award highlights communities’ hard work and collaborations to address challenging issues and create change for their neighbors.For our city government, one of the things happening every year is that we develop and approve a city budget. Our budget year runs from July 1 to June 30, so a new year has just begun. In early June, the City Commission approved a $49.1 million General Fund budget.Starting with our Small Business Development team of three (soon tobe four), this group has become a city department, as of July 1. The team, pre- viously part of the Cereal City Develop- ment Corp., has worked closely with our economic development partners to align services and address gaps in the small business ecosystem, to meet business needs. The new city department will focus on key components of the ecosys- tem that are ideally suited for the cityto address, like regulatory compliance, technical support, marketing, and small business recruitment and retention.Representatives from the city, BC Vision, Battle Creek Public Schools, Summit Pointe, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Battle Creek YMCA, the Lakeview School District, and STARR Commonwealth presented information, challenges, and successes related to three featured projects:City income tax, property taxes, and administrative fees provide revenue to our General Fund budget. In turn, the General Fund budget covers the follow- ing city departments: administration, community development, finance, fire, police, dispatch, public works, and recre- ation.• Operation Fit, which has the goal of decreasing childhood obesity in Calhoun County;In addition, the city budget includes additional funds, like enterprise funds. These run like businesses, with service fees covering operations. Examples of this are the Solid Waste Fund, the Water and Sewer Fund, and Battle Creek Transit.We encourage those with business ideas to start the process with the city. We offer business briefing sessions on Tuesday mornings that allow small busi- ness owners or entrepreneurs to share their plans with a group of city experts. Our team can assist with choosing a lo- cation, identifying which permits might be needed, and much more. Schedulean appointment between 9-10:30 a.m. at (269) 966-3387.• the Crisis Intervention Team, in which Summit Pointe and the Battle Creek Police Department train for and address mental health and substance abuse issues; andFind more budget detail and infor- mation on our website, battlecreekmi. gov/502/budget. Along with other budget documents, you will find a presentation and link to a video of this year’s Keeping You Informed Town Hall meeting, all about the city budget. Follow along with• the School Behavioral Health Pro- gram, addressing the emotional and social well-being of students attending public schools in Battle Creek.A great example of our business support is kiCH(ə)n, at 80 W. Michigan Ave. This city-owned, retail storefront currently is home to businesses Café Rica and Simply Sensational Berries,We are thrilled to receive this honor, and thank the many incredible people in Battle Creek who work hard every day to lift our community. Stay tuned for more information about community celebra- tions related to this continue working with businesses as they reach their growth potential in Battle Creek.ANNUAL REPORT I SCENE 4407 11

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