Bernero Supports Council's BWL Budget Proposal

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

With the deadline to finalize Lansing's budget on Monday, some amendments proposed by city council on Friday aren't sitting well with the mayor.

Bernero said he's opposed to several line item amendments he claims are non-starters that distract from bigger issues on the table.

"What we're arguing about is the $5.5 million that's for hydrants and streetlights," he said. "What I'm trying to do is take that off the budget permanently."

Although not in line with his original idea, Bernero said he would support the council's latest proposal to increase payments Lansing Board of Water and Light would have to make to the city instead of charging fees to BWL customers for hydrants and streetlights.

"The approach they're recommending, I'm open to that," he said. "Now the only thing there, is that requires another board [BWL board], whereas the approach I recommended is something we could do with the mayor and the council."

A similar proposal was brought up last year, but failed.

"Since that suggestion was made, we've come back now in this last year and have been able to have more full consideration of those options," said Council member Jessica Yorko.

The new proposal would increase BWL's payments to the city 1.2 percent from 5 to 6.2 percent, which is in line with the national average.

The increase is expected to bring in roughly $4.1 million dollars, according to estimates from the city.

But Bernero said he's still unhappy with numerous proposed amendments including the elimination of the city's faith-based office and an administrative information officer, among others.

"They want to get lost in the minutia, they want to argue and play political games," Bernero said.

"This is no time for games, Detroit has an emergency manager, Flint has an emergency manager, there's no reason why Lansing is immune."

However, Council member Carol Wood said those cuts are appropriate.

"We're not saying that it's something the mayor's office can't have," Wood said. "We're saying raise private funds for those, we don't believe that should be a general fund expenditure."

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