Lansing City Council Reacts To Financial Health Team's Recommendations

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Mayor Bernero is expected to include at least some of the Financial Health Team's short-term recommendations when he presents his budget to the City Council in 11 days.

After that, it's up to the council to decide which ones to use.

Lansing's fourth ward city councilwoman Jessica Yorko said it feels "awful" to be in this financial situation, but she's open to ideas if it means saving Lansing. One idea she isn't open to, however, is cutting police and fire.

"What I know from my constituents is they like to have their own police department, and their own fire department," Yorko said. "Those are the things really important as far as who provides that service, they want that to be City of Lansing."

All city employees received an email Thursday telling them what they can expect in the coming days from the Financial Health Team. It also reminded workers that it's strictly an advisory committee that can only offer recommendations, which will be considered carefully by the Mayor and City Council.

"It's going to be important for us to listen, for council to listen, both to the health team, to the public, to the mayor, and and then it will be up to us to make some decisions," Lansing City Council President Carol Wood said.

Those decisions include the possible sale of the City Hall building and changes to pensions. Wood said some of the short-term recommendations might be unrealistic.

"There's so many of these things that might be a give today and a take tomorrow," Wood said. "Are those things impossible? No, but are they practical? I just don't see some of these suggestions making some sense today."

She said that doesn't rule anything out down the road, but for now she's mostly concerned about the public. Wood has already heard from people worried about their jobs, and she said now it's up to city council to perform a balancing act. Yorko suggested changing trash collection or consolidating parks.

"We're going to have to make some very tough decisions," Yorko said. "They're not right, they're not good, but it's what we have to do. We can't have an EFM [Emergency Financial Manager] come and take over our city, and we are going to have to work very hard to protect our workers."

The financial health team will formally present their report to city council on Monday,


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