In Michigan
6:15 am
Tue January 26, 2010

Bernero offers new initiatives to improve city's outlook

LANSING, MI – Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he'll take a pay cut to help the city through its financial struggles. Bernero presented his fifth State of the City speech last night.

Bernero told the crowd at the South Lansing Community Center's Hill Auditorium that the city is facing its biggest challenge yet with a looming 12-million dollar budget deficit.

The Mayor announced several new initiatives aimed at improving Lansing's economic climate, including one he says would help small, local companies.

"Tonight, I'm pleased to announce the creation of a Small Business Growth fund that will provide loans of up to $35,000 so that they will create jobs right here in our community," Bernero said.

He says it would be paired with what he called a "Go Green Fund" to help small companies improve energy efficiency.

City Council President A'Lynne Robinson praised the Mayor's plan to launch a programmed aimed preventing youth violence.

"Absolutely thrilled to hear of the PEACE program that is being started to address some of the youth violence and help individuals to have alternatives," Robinson said.

Bernero says the city would partner with Michigan State University and the Boys and Girl's of Lansing to offer mentoring and after school programs to at-risk kids.