WUOMFM

lansing city council

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is proposing its municipal utility customers pay more to balance the city’s budget next year.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero outlined his budget plan to the city council last night.   Bernero says the city’s budget problems are not quite as serious as expected.    The mayor says better than expected property tax collections and lower than expected city employee health care costs had cut the project budget deficit in half.

Still, Bernero says the city needs to close about a five million dollar budget gap.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council picks a new council president tomorrow.  

It’s a selection process that has proved contentious in the past.

Last year, it took a deadlocked Lansing City Council more than a dozen votes to break a four to four stalemate to select a city council president.

The deadlock summed up the even political split on the city council.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing city council members are upset that the city’s mayor left last week on a trip to Europe and didn’t bother to tell them.

Mayor Virg Bernero is on a week-long ‘economic mission’ in Italy. But city council members first heard the mayor was gone from news reports.

The mayor’s spokesman says Bernero remains in contact with the city by phone and email.

Councilwoman Carol Wood says that's not good enough if there is a sudden crisis.

“Having to make split second decisions… doesn’t happen with waiting for the mayor to send us an email,” says Wood.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing voters will decide Tuesday how often they want their city council to meet.

The Lansing city council is required to meet 50 times a year.  That’s far more often than most councils.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Mayor Virg Bernero today vetoed a portion of the city budget plan approved by the Lansing City Council Monday night. 

The city council now has two weeks to see if it can override the veto. 

In the next few days, Lansing mayor Virg Bernero is expected to veto all or part of the budget plan the city council passed. 

Bernero indicated his intention to veto the budget during a sometimes contentious city council meeting last night.    He did little, if anything, to conceal his contempt for the changes the city council made to the budget plan he submitted two months ago.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing City Council will vote this evening on the city’s budget plan for next year.

The vote may set up a veto fight with Lansing’s mayor.

Back in March, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero told the city council how he thought the city should try to deal with a projected $4.7 million budget deficit next year. 

Tonight, it’s the city council’s turn.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Rising pension costs may throw a monkey wrench into the city of Lansing’s plans to hire police officers next year.

Lansing’s mayor proposed using money from a special public safety millage to rehire nine laid off police officers.    But the mayor’s office released a draft report Monday which says the city will have to come up with nearly two million dollars next year to cover rising police and fire pension costs.  

The Lansing City Council is taking more time to review next year’s budget plan.

Council has delayed its vote on the budget from May 14th to May 21st.

Councilwoman Carol Wood says there are “holes” in the mayor’s budget plan.

“Those holes have not been plugged. All we’re being told is they might be filled," says Wood,  "And I can’t pass in good conscience for the taxpayers of the city of Lansing. I can’t pass a budget that way.”

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Waverly golf course in Lansing could be a developer’s dream.    

City council president Brian Jeffries calls the 120 acre parcel of parkland ‘prime development property.’     

Still, the city council has been waffling on whether to ask voters for permission to sell the property. 

But now…it appears likely the council will put the issue on the August ballot when it meets on Monday.   

The sale could mean much needed revenue for the city, which is facing a multi-million dollar budget deficit next year. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It took a marathon session Monday night, but the Lansing city council finally has a new council president.   

The eight-member council is evenly divided into two factions. But after four hours of  closed door talks, Councilman Brian Jeffries emerged as the next Lansing city council president. Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar agreed to drop her bid for the president's gavel, after receiving assurances that she will have support for council president next year.

After the council voted to confirm him as president, Jeffries admitted the process did take a toll.

“Tonight was something we had to work through. I think we did….we got to a place where everyone felt comfortable…and I think we can go from there," said Jeffries.  

Jeffries admits work on the city budget may test the Lansing city council’s strained relations. Lansing may face a $12 to 15 million budget deficit next year.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A sharp division among Lansing city council members kept the council from taking its first required step this year during a meeting today.   The division threatens to keep the capital city’s governing body from functioning.

The Lansing city council is so divded it can’t even agree on who should chair its’ meetings.   The council talked for nearly 90 minutes, mainly in sometimes animated one on one discussions, and still deadlocked 4 to 4 over who should be the council president. 

The sharp divide has defined the Lansing city council for years.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing voters will decide next year if their city council should meet less often.    

The city council approved putting a charter change question on the ballot. It would cut in half the number of times the council is required to meet. Currently the council is required to formally meet 50 times a year, or almost once a week.   

The vote won’t happen until August. Council members worried there wouldn’t be enough Lansing voters turning out for February’s Republican presidential primary to weigh in on the question. 

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope has been pushing the reduced council meeting schedule. Swope says he’s fine with waiting until August for the vote.   

“So it will be a while…but it’s been kind of a long term thing that I’ve worked on …I’m just glad to have it be moving forward," says Swope.    

Swope hopes by meeting less often Lansing city council members will be more efficient in how they handle the city’s business.    

If it’s approved,  the charter change would take effect in 2013. 

In other Lansing city council business:   

The council shot down other proposed ballot questions that would have allowed the sale of Waverly Golf Course and the Vector building.   The council did approve an ordinance authorizing an historic district designation for the old Knapps building downtown.   The ordinance will help with the planned renovation of the former department store site.

(courtesy of the Lansing Economic Development Corp.)

The Lansing city council may agree tonight to ask voters to decide if part of a closed city golf course can be sold.   The land is being eyed for future business development. 

The proposal to sell part of the closed Red Cedar golf course has been stuck in a Lansing city council subcommittee since last spring.    Some council members said they wanted more information. 

City Council President A’Lynne Robinson is optimistic the council can get it unstuck this week.  

Pages