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Big Rapids Mayor Fred Guenther reflects on first few days in office

It has been a whirlwind for new Big Rapids Mayor Fred Guenther, who just a few months ago was campaigning to be the leader of the city, and now was sworn in as Mayor on Monday.

 

So how is the former doctor acclimating to the new position? Guenther believes so far, it's has been smooth.

Because I know Big Rapids so well, I think it will be an easy transition.” “The technicalities of city government are a little different than what I've done in the past but it's going fine and we are going to unite.” Guenther said.

 

During his first meeting with the Big Rapids City Commission, Guenther and the board got down to business and tackled an important work session item, the recently published 2020 US Census which shows the city of Big Rapids having a nearly 3,000 resident decline from 2010-2020.

It's really tough that the census is every ten years, if it was every five years this wouldn't be a bigger conversation.” “We have to live with our revenue sharing based on the census for the next ten years and I just have a feeling that the loss of residents last year has a lot to do with the beginning of the pandemic and those Ferris State University students who claim residency in Big Rapids weren't here to be counted because after spring break the school told students not to come back to campus.” Guenther said.

 

The bad part is the revenue sharing is strictly based on population and we could lose a ton of money every year and that is going to be the big issue. Guenther added.

 

Even though Guenther is only a few days into his four year term, he wants residents to know that he's approachable and will listen to ideas or concerns from the citizens of Big Rapids.

I'm a positive person, I like enthusiasm, I like to mix it up with people and I think the residents of Big Rapids are going to enjoy that. Guenther said. I'm going to have some open sessions in the future where residents can come in and say what ever want, that's not part of an official meeting. I want it to be fun and I want the city to perk up and get enthusiastic.” Guenther added.

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