Opinions Split on New Fees, Fee Increases in Lansing Budget

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Originally from Florida, second year Cooley Law School student Scott LaPeer will have some decisions to make when he graduates...especially when it comes to his living situation.

"I'm not actively looking to stay in the city, but I'm not opposed to the city. I enjoy it here," he said.

But with several new fees and fee increases included in the 2014 Lansing budget, some say it's becoming more difficult to live in the city.

No, we're not talking about BWL fees for fire hydrants and street lights because those weren't voted into the budget. We're talking everything from new, $25 fees to certain parks for events to a $500 fee if firefighters have to extricate you from your car following an accident.

Eastside Neighborhood President Nancy Mahlow says enough is enough.

"It's just hard from a citizen's perspective," she said. "The number of people that are still unemployed...I just can't see them taking on any more expenses. I can't see this being an encouragement to bring families into our neighborhood."

However, while increased fees could make it more difficult to attract new families into Lansing, other say improvements the city is making, make those fees easier to swallow.

"I think they've done some fantastic things over the last few years," said Marc Merritt, President of Grand River Connection, a group that promotes the young professional community in the Lansing area.

Merritt says the city's urban feel and, specifically, recent work in the Downtown area is enough to attract and retain a younger crowd.

"I think as long as they keep up the good work that's been going on, some small fee increases can certainly be palatable for the young professional community," he said.

City Finance Director Angela Bennett told News 10 a lot of the new fees and fee increases are typical in other cities.

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