by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL On the wings of victory from winning the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest, the Rockford Farm Market (RFM) proudly sails into its second decade. Since its opening day, the first Saturday of June in 2002, RFM has developed a cult-like word-of-mouth following in the greater Rockford community. In many ways, it was Rockford’s best-kept secret. All that changed with the Market’s entrance last year into the prestigious farmers markets contest sponsored by the American Farmland Trust (AFT). Not only did RFM win its small market category (16-30 vendors), it also received more votes than ANY other single farm market in any category (boutique, small, medium, and large). In doing so, RFM truly could lay claim to the title “America’s Favorite Farmers Market/2011”. Recently the AFT revealed that nearly 1,700 participating farmers markets were entered into last year’s contest. A total of 90,000 votes were cast online. All the more amazing was the fact that the small city Rockford Farm Market received 6,083 votes, or in other words an incredible 6.8 percent of the total votes cast! RFM is a “Pure Michigan” farm market that celebrates and totally reflects the “farm-to-table” movement. It is all about local West Michigan farm produce. A visit to America’s Favorite Farmers Market truly rewards one with a taste of Michigan. Local regional foods simply taste better. Why? Because they are fresher, not having traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to our tables. That they are more healthful simply goes without saying. Because of the resulting media coverage in winning last year’s farm market contest, RFM found itself becoming a destination farm market for foodies and farm market affeciationados from near and far. Just as there are wine trails, there are also farm market trails and RFM now finds itself as a “must” market to visit. What boggles the mind is the fact that RFM operates without cost to its sponsor, the City of Rockford. It has no budget, no paid staff, and does not advertise in the media. Rockford City Treasurer Kim McKay somehow finds the time to organize and administer the June – October market during her already hectic work schedule. Saturday morning Market Master duties are performed by volunteers from the […]
The Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association (MMTA) is pleased to announce that Kim McKay, treasurer of the City of Rockford, has been elected by her peers to the position of president of the MMTA Board of Directors during their annual meeting held on October 4, 2011. The MMTA has membership of more than 800 members across the state of Michigan and prides itself in promoting professional growth by offering valuable education, legislative updates, and networking opportunities for municipal treasurers and finance directors. The MMTA also offers its members the training necessary to receive the Michigan Certified Professional Treasurer designation, and works closely with the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada to offer the internationally recognized Certified Public Finance Administrator accreditation. McKay has served several terms as an officer and director of the association and has been an invaluable asset to the MMTA. The association welcomes her to her position on the board and wish her the best as she serves the association as president.
Rockford treasurer voted to position by peers by BETH ALTENA When Kim McKay hired on with the City of Rockford 14 years ago this past December, she was deputy treasurer. Today she is a woman wearing many professional hats with the local government and has been voted the next president of the Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association (MMTA). The nonprofit organization of treasurers of cities, townships and other municipalities is over 800 members strong, and McKay can’t overemphasize how much help professionally the group has offered in her tenure. Starting out as deputy, with John Strauss treasurer, McKay was promoted when Strauss took a job with Kent County. Since, McKay has been doing the work you would expect as treasurer, collecting taxes, paying bills and filling out payroll checks for the City. Unlike larger cities, a treasurer in a town the size of Rockford finds other duties falling to her hands. “Other treasurers look at me funny when I tell them some of my duties,” McKay shared. Any visitor to the well-used Community Cabin on Monroe Street may admire the color scheme, new kitchen design and décor. That was McKay’s design. She also is responsible for the open-space, visitor-friendly look of City Hall itself. “I’d love to get my hands on the old court building,” she confided. Design and decoration skills aren’t typical on a treasurer’s resume, but local government sometimes has the luxury, or necessity, of making use of the skills available in its staff. “We are all very cross-trained here,” McKay said of the City. Responding to years-long revenue and state-shared funding cuts, Rockford has been decreasing personnel through attrition and consolidation of services. But even before having to tighten its belt financially, the City made good use of talent such as McKay’s. Any stroll through downtown during months of moderate weather proves the point. McKay has for years been the designer of the floral arrangements in the seasonal pots throughout the City. “It’s been all the way down from the top,” McKay said of budget challenges. “We are still able to offer many services that other municipalities no longer can.” McKay said offering leaf pick-up is still a huge service that some may take for granted. The City also continues to be supportive […]