Lansing Financial Health Team to Offer Recommendations

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It's a fate shared by many across the state.

"Most Michigan cities are three to five, or at most five to seven years, from insolvency," said David Hollister, former Lansing mayor. "Something has got to change."

Hollister and the Lansing Financial Health Team are hoping to bring about that change by adopting tough recommendations at their final meeting, Thursday morning.

Some focus will be on the long-term, like asking the state to change the way it handles revenue sharing and finding new ways to fund local governments.

The short term is another issue.

"We have identified $9 million that is a problem, but the city needs to invest," said Hollister.

On top of suggesting cuts to solve the $9 million deficit, the team will recommend new investments, including:

$1 million - Legacy Costs (Pensions and Health Care)
$1.2 million - IT & CIO
$1 million - Financial Reserves (Rainy Day Fund)
$200,000 - Fees & Costs

It totals about $12.4 million the city will need to come up with.

Mayor Virg Bernero says we can expect to see some of the recommendations in his budget when its released.

"No question. We're going to look at IT. They hit an area I think is one of our soft spots," he said. "Some of them, I would like to do, like the million extra dollars in reserve, but it's difficult."

Mayor Bernero expects the recommendations coming from the R.E. Olds Museum to be difficult to hear, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"We know that doing the same thing, the same way, is not an option," he said.

Hollister agrees with him.

"You can put it off, but sooner or later, someone's going to be banging on the door saying, 'The bill is due, pay up," he said.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., March 14 at R.E. Olds Museum.

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