Lansing Asks Residents for Financial Advice

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Stan Shuck was one of about 40 community members at the Pattengill Academy Thursday night giving input on how the city should solve it's financial woes. Shuck has lived in Lansing his entire life.

"I came tonight because I am concerned about my city," said Stan Shuck a Lansing resident of more than 50 years. "I am concerned about the quality of life in Lansing."

He says rather than more cuts, Lansing should focus on generating more revenue by providing and charging for services to other communities.

"We effectively are being thrown under the wheels of the bus as opposed to driving the bus--such as refuge and recycling and other things that could be regionalized," said Shuck. "I think that we need to better assess how we are using our assets and the revenues that we have and look for ways to bring in revenues as opposed to pushing revenues out of the city."

He is not the only one that feels the city should focus on growing revenues rather than selling assets.

"When you privatize and you loose employees who are on your city payroll, you loose their income locally, you loose the money they would feed back into the local economy," said Loretta Stanaway a Lansing resident of more than 25 years. "You loose a lot of different options for income to the city in terms of property values, school funds, incomes to businesses locally being supported by those people."

The major factors behind the city's financial problems are rising pension and healthcare costs, combined with less money from the state and fewer property tax revenues.

The Financial Health Team hopes to submit recommendations to the Mayor by March 1.

Residents suggested tax abatements should be better assessed and if a company closes, the abatement money should be returned to the city.

Others suggested focusing less money on downtown and investing more in the surrounding neighborhoods to help increase property values and thus city revenues.

It is unclear how many suggestions will make it into the final recommendations to the mayor.

"There's some lack of understanding of how deep and how pervasive the deficit is and continues to be and will be into the near future and why," said David Hollister the Financial Health Team Chair. "So I think these hearings have helped education the public about the structural nature of this challenge. The city is well managed."

Thursday's public hearing is the second of five open meetings that the Financial Health Team will be holding. There are still lots of opportunity for public input. The other meetings will be held on Feb. 14, 28 and March 14 all at the Olds Transportation Museum at 7:30 a.m.

"They are going to have plenty of time for input," said Hollister. "Stay tuned. Be engaged. That's how this democratic process works."


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