East Lansing, MI – The city of East Lansing is hosting a public forum on its proposed 2011 budget tonight. The event is one of the last opportunities for public input before the city enacts a new spending plan on July 1.
East Lansing officials have been meeting with residents since February in an effort to explain the city's financial picture. By shedding $2 million from its current budget, the city scaled back community events and reduced police and fire staffing.
Now, the city council is poised to ask residents for a one-half mil property tax increase.
City Manager Ted Staton says the results of a recent online survey indicate some willingness.
"And I think the sense we get from those responses are, again, if we can show that we've tightened our belts, that we've trimmed where we can...that people are willing to pay a little more," says Staton.
Dramatic declines in state shared revenue payments have also contributed to the city's shortfall. Staton says the city gets about half the revenue it once received from the state a decade ago.