REED CITY — The 2011 calendar year in Reed City hasn’t exactly been one for the books.

It’s been tough, but city manager Ron Marek is a ‘cup half full’ kind of guy. He expects things to get better — much better.

“We’ve had a difficult year in one sense — because of the financial situation and the cuts we’ve needed to make,” he said.

“We’re squeaking by. We’ve had to cut part time employment, and we are looking at not replacing retiring full-time employees.”

So, 2011 has been tough.”

But ... the city has survived problems and issues without needing to substantially cut back on services. That makes Marek very happy.

“We haven’t had to reduce any program that is too readily noticeable,” he pointed out.

“We’ve been trying to keep up as best we can, so folks don’t necessarily notice that some of the regular things we do have been cut back on.

“In some areas, volunteers have stepped up and we greatly appreciate the support of individuals and organizations who take up the slack in some programs we’ve need to cut back on to a degree.”

Marek noted that as a result of continuing budget issues the city had largely cut out any capital outlay projects.

“In many ways, we are in a maintain mode,’ he said.

“Still, we are moving forward with plans for major roadwork and neighborhood improvement making the best use we can of grants and outside funding.

“We are just now wrapping up a multi-million dollar development program at our waste water treatment plant, and we are moving ahead with a fairly significant street improvement project in the West Church Street area.

“Sure. We have budget issues — mostly revenue sharing questions. But the city continues to move forward and improve itself and its services day by day.”

Marek noted that the local Downtown Development Authority was a great municipal partner and supporter as the city looks to develop projects and searches out funding for those programs.

In the area of business creation or expansion, Marek is very happy with the way things are going at the new FloPallet plant which has been up and running for a year.

“The development of business opportunities in our community has been a very positive thing,” he said.

“FloPallet, for example, is now up to employing 20 workers. We’re pleased they are a part of our community.

“In addition, we have both Self Serve Lumber and Farm and Home operations in our city and the immediate area which have done a lot toward giving our residents shopping options.

“Those businesses continue to see their business pick up. That’s great.”

Marek said one of the highlights of his administrative year was the continuing cooperative efforts between Reed City and neighboring townships - specifically Richmond Township.

“We are talking more and more about how we can get together and work toward common goals,” he said.

“I hope discussions will continue, and our efforts to improve relationships will be successful.”

Marek said the city’s Brownfield Authority efforts were continuing and bearing fruit in seeing polluted sites identified and dealt with in an effective and timely manner.

“We’ve done assessments and been able to create a list of sites that we can deal with in the future as businesses show an interest in locating or relocating to our community,” he said.

‘This is another tool we can use to make moving a business to Reed City more attractive.”

All in all, 2011 has been a tough year but not a bad year.

“We’ve had a lot of positive things going on in our community,” said Marek.

“We deal with issues that come up, and move forward to more positive activities.

“Next year? More of the same, with a positive look to the future.”