The financial health report includes pages of sweeping changes to transform the way Lansing does business and as team members close their books, it's time for Mayor Bernero to make some tough decisions. Some of the long term changes will take years to implement and involve negotiatons with unions, but Lansing citizens could see some short term changes coming soon.
Mayor Bernero is not ready to talk details yet, but says he will include some of the short term recommendations in his 2014 budget, but it's unlikely he'll include all of them.
"Now we have to make decisions about what's in here that goes in the budget. I can't say what that is now, I'm not prepared to say what it is, but we will have a balanced budget and it will be better because of this report," said Mayor Bernero.
As the mayor works to finalize his budget, city council is also looking closely at the new recommendations, one of which is setting money aside to prefund the employee retirement system.
"When we've got the deficit we're dealing with right now, I'm not sure we can afford to turn around and add additional revenue out there...The idea of us selling some of our services to different municipalities, we have great maintenance garage that takes care of our fire equipment. Is that something we can do regionally?" said Lansing City Council President Carol Wood.
Regionalism seems to be a key word, as Mayor Bernero says Lansing can stay solvent on its own, but needs to work with other communities to thrive. During a press conference on Monday, he mentioned the plan to form a regionalism task force, but no further details were provided.