After close to 10 years in office, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero enjoyed a first last night: The chance to submit a city budget plan with a surplus. Despite being slightly in the black for fiscal year 2015, Bernero describes his $18 million spending plan as conservative and cautious.
Reflecting concern with hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term unfunded obligations, the Mayor wants to pre-fund more retiree health care. Bernero also wants to allocate more for the city’s rainy day fund in an effort to boost the city’s rating with credit agencies.
Money is earmarked for public safety too, including a new ambulance and near gear for Lansing firefighters. The Mayor also wants to upgrade the city’s technological infrastructure to the tune of $2.2 million.
Carol Wood of the Lansing City Council offers her initial reactions to the Mayor's proposal. Wood says that in dealing with the budget, it's important to encourage people to move into Lansing but also to keep current residents in the area. As a result, code compliance in neighborhoods and sustaining the police force are among the many priorities.
We also reached out to Council President A'Lynne Boles, however she did not respond our requests to join us.