Mayor Talks City Successes, Challenges During 'State of the City' Address

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is seen in an Aug. 29, 2007 photo in Lansing, Mich. Bernero said Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 he plans to create an exploratory committee as he considers challenging Lt. Gov. John Cherry and others for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next year. The former state lawmaker will file paperwork this week and plans to decide whether to enter the race early next year. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Rod Sanford)
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With millions of dollars in corporate investments and several planned developments in the works, Mayor Virg Bernero says 2013 could be a strong year for Lansing.

"We've got wind in our sails again and it's time for us to make the big leap forward," said Mayor Bernero.

But with Lansing facing a $9 million budget deficit, not everything will be easy.

"The road ahead will not be painless. We will need to be resourceful, tough and brutally honest about what needs to be done to get where we need to be," said the Mayor.

While he didn't say exactly what will be done to balance the budget, Mayor Bernero told News 10 after his speech that everything is on the table.

"If they want us to merge with the county or merge with another unit of government, I'm okay with that," said Mayor Bernero. "In fact, I think there are efficiencies that could be done. We're operating a 2012-2013 budget basically with 2001 dollars."

Chad Gamble, the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Lansing, says nothing is set in stone until the city's financial team presents a budget in March.

"We're trying to close a $9 million budget gap so, absolutely, there is a lot of work being done in all the departments to try and bring the best budget we can for the community and for the region," said Gamble.

Still, Mayor Bernero remains positive.

"Year after year, we have to say 'how can we design this?, how can we tweak this?, how can we get more bang for the buck?," said the Mayor. "We've sort of gotten used to doing that. It is an extraordinary challenge, but it's one that we're up to."

News 10 talked with David Hollister, former mayor and head of Lansing's "Financial Health Team", in November. He said voters and city hall are going to have to decide if they would rather pay higher taxes, or do without some of the services they are currently getting.

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