Politics & Government
11:48 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Lansing city council fails to override mayor's budget veto

As expected, the Lansing city council last night failed to muster enough votes to override the mayor’s budget veto.

But Lansing’s budget drama is not over yet.

The Lansing city council needed six votes to reinstate the changes it made to the city budget last month.

But only five council members voted to override Mayor Virg Bernero’s veto.

Councilmember Jody Washington says she’s frustrated.   Washington was among those most critical of the mayor’s spending priorities in the budget, including hiring a cold case police officer and adding a cabinet level IT position.    She says the council members who supported the mayor will hear from voters.

“I think the constituents will absolutely remember in November…I think they will remember clearly,” says Washington.

Still Washington says it’s time for the city council members to put the budget debate behind them.

Council member Kathie Dunbar agrees.

Dunbar voted to support the mayor’s veto.   She defended her vote by saying “We all came to different conclusions on this….we don’t all agree…but it’s nice at some point to agree to disagree.”

The city still faces a multi-million dollar hole in next year’s budget.

The mayor’s asking the Lansing Board of Water & Light to agree to some funding changes to make up the difference.      BWL and the mayor’s office have not yet set a date to discuss the issue.   The meeting may not take place until after the new fiscal year begins July 1st.   The mayor’s spokesman says that should not be a problem.  

If the Lansing Board of Water and Light declines Mayor Virg Bernero’s request, the mayor’s spokesman says they will have to go back to the ‘drawing board’ to figure out how to pay for city fire hydrants and streetlights.   If that happens, the mayor’s office may have to look at making cuts to a budget that just survived a veto override attempt by a single vote.