The Michigan Capitol is shown at twilight Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009, in Lansing, Mich. Lawmakers continue work on budget bills that deal with a $2.8 billion shortfall before an Oct. 1 deadline. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Mayor Virg Bernero was bracing himself for yet another cut to local government, but Governor Rick Snyder's budget presentation surprised him.
"All the statutory programs, if you combine them all we're talking about a 9.2 percent increase, which is a significant increase for our local partners," said Snyder in his presentation Thursday. "And we're doing this all through incentive programs with best practices."
The push for shared services has already driven an Ingham County 9-1-1 center, and an MSU regional fire study. But some lawmakers worry tying strings to funding will leave many local governments hurting.
"I'm concerned it is all tied to incentives," said Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing.
Bernero welcomes the challenge.
"We have a lot of redundancy in government and for local governments to come together to save money, get more bank for their buck, the governor is on track," said Bernero.
But even a boost to revenue sharing wouldn't make up for the city's budget deficit. The mayor says parks and community centers would be the first to go.
"We have a lot of parks, more than most cities our size. They cost a lot of money to maintain. I'm struggling to keep our community centers open. They're part of the backbone of the services we provide, but look at other cities, Sherene. Flint, Detroit, are closing community centers."
Lansing's money troubles have much to do with declining property values...
"Most of our money comes from property taxes and so we will continue to right-size and frankly down-size city government," said Bernero.
Mayor Bernero says there won't be any cuts this year to Lansing police and fire thanks to the millage voters passed last year.