Veto Override Fails as Lansing City Council Votes 5-3

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It was a much shorter discussion compared to the last meeting, when the budget was passed. While the vote was the same, the end result wasn't.

"Five 'Yays', three 'Nays'. Two-thirds of a vote required, the resolution is not adopted," Lansing Clerk Chris Swope declared at the Lansing City Council meeting.

Despite the push of several members of the Lansing City Council to override Mayor Virg Bernero's veto of the council budget, Kathie Dunbar, Tina Houghton and Jessica Yorko stood their ground.

The mayor says it was the right move.

"What I'm striving for, what I'm fighting for, what I'm standing for with these vetoes is a permanent fix," said Mayor Bernero. "What they've cobbled together is a temporary fix."

Mayor Bernero says economic development, a new cold-case detective and cabinet level IT position are essential to the city's future. Cuts the council made to those programs couldn't be ignored.

As for the BWL fees that have been the focus of the budget process, the mayor is willing to compromise.

"In terms of the big picture, $4 million of it, they win," he said.

Mayor Bernero says he plans to ask the Board of Water and Light to raise the amount of revenue it pays the city by a little more than a percent to pay for street lights.

That still leaves a $1.5 million deficit for fire hydrants, which will still be paid for by a $23/year fee on average. Council President Carol Wood believes it's not what the public wants.

"They wanted additional cuts in the budget and that was the budget we presented," she said.

The mayor disagrees and says he hasn't heard nearly the uproar some members of the council have claimed to hear. He also says his version of the budget could lead to a balanced budget right off the bat, next year.

As for this year, the mayor's version of the budget will take effect on July 1.

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