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Berkley Councilmember Steve Baker Discusses Making Michigan Prosperous Once Again Tonight on WJR Radio

Berkley Council Member Steve Baker is on WJR radio tonight at 7 p.m.
Berkley Council Member Steve Baker is on WJR radio tonight at 7 p.m.

Berkley City Councilmember Steve Baker talks about ways to move Michigan forward during an interview on News/Talk 760 WJR, one of the nation’s largest radio stations. Baker is a guest on the Prosperity Agenda Radio Show, which airs on WJR 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 23). The show is hosted by Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin and guest co-host Chad Livengood, reporter for the Detroit News. 

“The financial system at the state level has been a challenge and we really are dependent on just a few key revenue streams here,” Baker said during the show, which was pre-recorded and airs for the first time tonight. “Unlike other forms of government we have to balance our budget every year. No shutdowns for us, we have to live within our means and spend what we can take in. That requires us to identify and prioritize what’s crucial and what’s desirable.”

Baker also discusses the state’s new Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP), formerly known as revenue sharing, and the revenue lost in his community in the last several years.

“The City of Berkley, to make it real, back in 2007 had $380,000 come in to the city from the state as part of the statutory portion of the state shared revenues,” Berkley said. “That has since been put into a competitive program. There’s a set of hoops you need to jump through and boxes you need to check and things that sometimes puts the cities at odds with one another. As a result of that program and the general decline of funding of that we’ve gone from that $380,000 down to about $160,000. It’s less than half of what we used to receive. That makes a significant difference to the residents in the City of Berkley."

Baker was elected to Berkley City Council in November 2009. He and his wife Nicole have lived in Berkley for well over a baker's dozen years. Steve serves as the IT director for DTE Energy, where he plays a key role in corporate and technology governance, policy and procedure oversight, and budget management.

Other guests on the show are Larry Nielsen, manager for the Village of Paw Paw in southwest Michigan, and Samantha Harkins, director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. The hour-long show focuses on the League’s Partnership for Place Agenda, which proposes a commitment of action in partnership between the State and its municipalities that will facilitate Michigan’s economic growth and allow for the development of places to provide key services and amenities that contribute to a high quality of life. It focuses on a more regional approach to service delivery, which would change the way services are provided, how resources are dedicated, and how systems are supported.

When asked by Livengood about community consolidation, Baker explains that his the community already does many shared services with neighboring communities.

“We’ve been great partners with our regional neighbors for several years,” Baker said.

The Michigan Prosperity Agenda is a monthly radio show that challenges listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play by creating vibrant and prosperous local communities. It has aired on News/Talk 760 WJR at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month since 2010.

The hour-long radio program is hosted by Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League (the League). The show is sponsored by the League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The show’s topics focus on the concept of placemaking.

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