By: Alexandra Ilitch Staff Writer
The City of Lansing has reduced its budget by over $60 million since 2001 according to Mayor Virg Bernero at the city council meeting on March 25, 2013.
The Great Recession has greatly impacted Lansing in many ways such as the crash of the stock market in 2008, which added to the city’s pension costs.
Since 2008, the city has seen an $8 million decline in tax revenues.
In November of 2011, there was a millage passage, which was proposed by city voters, for fire, police, and roads.
The financial health team was established in the fall of 2012, made up of community and business leaders, to evaluate the city’s financial challenges and to make suggestions for the future.
For the fiscal year 2014, Bernero proposed a $191.5 million budget, resulting in a 1.6 percent increase over the fiscal year 2013 budget.
“I will not propose reducing the city’s commitment to recreation programs for our youth,” Bernero said.
The increase in the budget is a result of a voter-approved millage, which was proposed to come up with a strategic plan for road infrastructure within the city.
“My proposed budget almost doubles our expenditures on fixing neighborhood streets and sidewalks. The police, fire and roads millage will generate $1.8 million for road repairs in the Fiscal Year of 2014.
He said $1.3 million will be spend on roads, and an additional $200,000 for sidewalks.
Bernero said that he is continuing to pursue numerous measures to streamline city government and get “more bang from the taxpayer’s buck.”
He said the budget keeps the city on the right track and closes the remaining budget gap with a combination of new revenues, reduced expenditures, reorganizations, and strategic investments.
In other council business, two representatives from the public spoke in disagreement about the General Motors IFT application.
The IFT is the industrial facilities and tax exception certificate.
City resident, Claude Beavers, said he strongly disagrees with the workings of the General Motors IFT application.
Beavers also said that it was unfair to someone who is a taxpayer like himself.
Another city resident, Kathi Raffone, said that she was struggling with the new tax certificate as well and that she does not support it.