Lansing Considering Consolidating Precincts

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Whatever it takes, there is nothing that escapes the table when it comes to fixing the city of Lansing's $20 million deficit.

"The budget is so bad," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. "It's so deep to simply where we house the [police] officers won't affect the deficit."

There's a plan to combine the city police precincts into the former armory building on South Washington Avenue, but it wouldn't happen this year.

"[The precincts] are in leased spaces," said city finance director Jerry Ambrose. "Those begin to expire at the end of 2013 and we're actively looking at ways to house those folks in city facilities in the future."

Ambrose says both properties -- the North and South precincts cost about $500,000 a year, which the mayor says is pennies in relation to the deficit. But, you sometimes take savings where you can get them.

"It's not a huge savings. No matter where you put the police there's going to be money involved. If we build a new building that will cost money. If we rent, then we pay rent," said Bernero.

Consolidating the precincts into the old armory building is really just the first step. Rehabbing the structure is going to cost millions so the savings are more of a long-term goal.

"It's not as simple as saying we'll make the leases go away and we'll save $500,000 a year. We'll probably make the leases go away and spend upwards of $5 million to renovate the space," said Ambrose.

Ambrose adds that the city see the armory as a central location, one that could benefit both the department and the city.

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