City Council Not Happy With Veto

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

It seems one of the few things concerning the budget Lansing city council members and the mayor agreed on is that he would veto their recommendations.

Although council member Robinson disagrees with the mayor's decision that saving residents and taxpayers money is short sighted.

"This is not a temporary band-aid, this had some long term fixes for the budget," said A'Lynne Boles Robinson, a council member representing Ward 3.

She and others think cutting out $5.5 million in programs to pay for hydrants and streetlights is better than raising rates for BWL customers.

"I would have cut much much deeper," said Jody Washington, a council member representing ward 1. "I fully expected him to veto everything, Mayor Bernero--he is what he is and he wants things his way and he certainly has that prerogative to do that and I was not at all surprised."

The mayor vetoed every single one of council's amendments to the city's budget.

"I believe in these programs, I think the community does and obviously Carol and Brian want them gone," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

The mayor said the council's budget amendments were "inadvisable," "short sighted" and "fiscally imprudent."

Instead he wants to keep the programs.

"It's not willy nilly that these things ended up in the budget this was carefully thought out," said Bernero.

He want to surcharge BWL customers for the hydrants. He and the council agree they will ask BWL for more money, instead of 5 percent of the utility's gross revenue, they will ask 6.1 percent to pay for the streetlights.

In a way the unfinished pieces in the budget really are in the hands of BWL's eight member board--because whatever rate increases that the council or the mayor request, BWL has final approval.

In a statement a spokesperson for the utility said "that it wants to be supportive of the City of Lansing and its residents" and that "it looks forward to the negotiations with the city on how to pay for hydrant and streetlight costs."

Council members are asking voters to voice their opinion about the budget to the council members prior to their next meeting on June 3.

While News Ten was talking with several council members Thursday Washington said something that got our attention. She thinks some council members don't understand how the budget process works.

"How you read a budget. How you go through a budget. So much of the discussion during the budget process really had nothing to do with the budget and that was frustrating for me," said Washington.

She would not name the council members she felt did not understand the budget process. Monday night News Ten's Anthony Sabella reported there was a lot of confusion that delayed the vote on the budget.


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