Lansing Mayor Bernero Releases Budget Recommendations

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When Mayor Virg Bernero spoke in front of the Lansing City Council, Monday night, his intentions were clear.

"We'll have a balanced budget for the eighth straight year," he said.

As both the mayor and his appointed Financial Health Team have said over the past several weeks, having a balanced budget comes with sacrifice, starting with the city's neighborhoods.

Moving BWL fees for hydrant use and running the light system out of the general fund will save the city $5.5 million, but it will also put a $45 yearly surcharge on customers.

Another necessary sacrifice, according to the mayor, is a concession in healthcare from police and fire. $700,000 from police alone.

"What we need is shared sacrifice," said Mayor Bernero. "That's what we need from the police union. Nothing more than what all the other workers have given, including people in my office...I hope we get it."

On top of solving the $5 million deficit, Mayor Bernero also announce money-saving reorganizations of departments as well as health team-recommended investments.

That includes creating a new Department of Technology through a $2 million technology bond.

"Behind every city service you can name is a network and servers," said Mayor Bernero. "Many of systems are antiquated and must be modernized."

It also includes refinancing $1.4 million in debt to the Tax Increment Finance Authority and splitting that money evenly between the rainy day fund and funding retiree healthcare.

"We will keep our promises to city retirees, but we will also find a way to pay for those obligations without bankrupting the city of Lansing."

More information on the budget recommendations can be found on the city of Lansing's website.

The city council will now take a look at the recommendations and make their own changes before sending them back to the mayor.

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