Lansing Teaming Up with MSU to Address Biggest Budget Issues

Former Lansing Mayor Dave Hollister will head up a revived Lansing Financial Health Team. Mayor Bernero is expected to make a formal announcement later this Month.
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Is it possible for a city to plan a budget for the kind of winter we've had this year, or come up with a way to restore retiree benefits instead of cutting them?

Those are just some of the tough financial questions Lansing leaders are hoping to get answered teaming up with Michigan State University for the first ever 'Fiscal Sustainability Training.'

The program is offered through MSU Extension and is headed up by Eric Scorsone, an MSU economist and expert on government finances, who says infrastructure and legacy costs will be the two biggest financial challenges facing Lansing.

"It's exactly the kind of thing that's really a proactive approach that other cities need to be looking at and taking as well," he said.

Councilmember Carol Wood, who was in attendance at Monday's meeting, echoed Scorsone's emphasis on bring proactive.

"It'll be about looking over a period of years instead of just doing a budget one year at a time and not understanding what the outcome will be," Wood said.

Former Lansing Mayor David Hollister will also join Scorsone to head up the revived Lansing Financial Health Team which issued its last report about a year ago before disbanding.

"As you talk about these solutions they're not going to be painless, I mean there's only so many things you can do but if there's a public understanding then you can come to a solution," Hollister said.

Hollister said Mayor Bernero is expected to make an official announcement about the revived financial team later in March.

Council has two more training sessions with MSU planned for March. MSU hopes to take the program to use in other cities across the state.

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