Virg Bernero

Politics & Government
7:52 am
Mon May 20, 2013

In this morning's news: possible cap on FOIA fees, Lansing's budget showdown, education for inmates

Morning News Roundup, Monday, May 20, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Legislation in Michigan House could cap FOIA fees

There is new legislation up for initial hearing this week in Lansing. It is a response to local governments and state agencies charging hefty fees for people to see government records.

"One of the bills would limit most charges for requests filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act to no more than 10 cents a page. Another would create a Michigan Open Government Commission to hear challenges to government denials of information requests," Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Lansing City Council vs. Mayor Virg Bernero

The Lansing city council will vote tonight on a budget for next year. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that "the vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor Virg Bernero." 

The mayor wants to add annual fees for city water and electricity customers. Conversely, the council wants to make several spending cuts including eliminating several new positions the mayor wants to add to the city's payroll. Mayor Virg Bernero will have until Thursday to veto parts of the city budget he doesn’t like. The Lansing city council has until early June to try to override the mayor’s expected vetoes.

Higher education opportunities piloted in Michigan prisons

"After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole. Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally," reports The Detroit News.

Politics & Government
12:30 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Lansing city council votes on FY2014 budget tonight

Earlier this year, the city council heard from a panel appointed to study Lansing's financial state. The mayor incorporated some of the panel's recommendations in his proposed FY2014 budget.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council votes tonight on a budget for next year.

The vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor Virg Bernero.

The mayor wants to fill a five million dollar hole in the 2014 budget, with added annual fees for city water and electricity customers. The money would pay for streetlights and fire hydrants.

Last week, the city council dumped the fees from the budget.

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Showdown brewing over Lansing's city budget for next year

Lansing city hall (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council has rejected a plan to increase fees on city utility customers.

Today the city council approved a budget plan that axes the 46-dollar utility fee and several million dollars in spending in the mayor’s proposed budget for next year. Final council approval is expected Monday night.

“I think many of us had heard the concerns that people wanted to make sure we were making the cuts that needed to be made,” says Carol Wood, Lansing city council president.

Politics & Government
2:00 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Lansing's mayor wants a third term

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero kicking off his campaign for a third term as the capital city's mayor
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he wants four more years in office. He formally announced his campaign today. 

“I’m telling you folks … Lansing is on the verge,” the partisan crowd groaned, and then laughed, as Virg Bernero joked at his campaign kickoff.

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Politics & Government
11:55 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Time is running short for Lansing city council to make changes to proposed FY2014 budget

Lansing City Hall (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Time is running out for the Lansing city council to come up with changes to the mayor’s budget proposal for next year. 

The city council must approve a budget plan in two weeks.   Council members have been poring over the mayor’s 112 million dollar budget proposal for the past month.

Carol Wood is the Lansing city council president. She says there are some items that could be cut from the budget. 

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Politics & Government
7:45 am
Tue March 26, 2013

In this morning's news: Affirmative action, Flint wants to remove EM, balancing Lansing's budget

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

U.S. Supreme Court looks at affirmative action case in Michigan

"The U.S. Supreme Court will review Michigan’s ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action in university admissions. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is defending the amendment to the state constitution. It was adopted by voters in 2006," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint City Council takes steps to remove EM

"The Flint City Council is asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and phase out state control of its finances. The council unanimously approved a measure last night to request a state-appointed transition board to oversee the city’s finances," Jake Neher reports.

Lansing Mayor wants residents to pay more for utilities to help with city budget

"Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero wants to close the city’s looming budget deficit by asking city utility customers to pay another $46 a year. Bernero delivered his $112 million proposed budget to the city council last night," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
10:59 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Lansing's mayor wants city utility customers to help close the city's projected budget deficit

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero outlining his $112 million general fund budget plan at last night's city council meeting
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.

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Politics & Government
3:57 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Lansing's mayor rolls out his proposed budget Monday night

Are there more budget cuts coming to Lansing's police and fire departments?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will deliver his proposed city budget for the next year to the city council tomorrow. 

The mayor’s proposed budget is expected to deal with a projected nine million dollar budget shortfall.

A team appointed by Mayor Bernero suggested deep contract concessions by the city’s police and fire unions, among other cuts.

Tom Krug is the executive director with the local Fraternal Order of Police.

He says Lansing police officers have already agreed to more than a million dollars in contract concessions since 2009.

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Politics & Government
10:48 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Looking for other ideas to solve Lansing's budget woes

The turnout at last night's public hearing was not enough to fill the auditorium at Pattengill Academy
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A special committee set up to study the city of Lansing’s financial problems heard from the public last night.

The committee’s preliminary report is due March 1st. The panel is looking at changes to Lansing’s retirement plan and other possible spending cuts.

Several dozen people showed up last night to share their ideas. UAW vice president Stan Shuck doesn’t want any more cuts to city employees and city services.  He wants to see ideas for raising revenue.

Politics & Government
12:42 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Lansing mayor to deliver State of the City address tonight

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor plans to celebrate the city’s recent growth in manufacturing in his State of the City address tonight night.   

But the city’s lingering financial problems will also be on the agenda.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has used his previous seven State of the City addresses to highlight positive economic news in the capitol city. He’ll do the same thing this year.

Bernero says he plans to talk about expanding auto production in the Lansing area as well as mention other downtown development projects.

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Politics & Government
1:43 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Lansing city council irked by mayor's trip to Italy

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero (file photo)
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.

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Politics & Government
7:22 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

The future of Lansing's old Red Cedar golf course is on the line Tuesday

Lansing voters will decide if the remaining 48 acres of the Red Cedar golf course will be put up for sale
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing voters will decide next week if they are willing to put 48 acres of an old city golf course up for sale.

Voters approved selling 12 acres of the Red Cedar golf course last year.  But developers say they need the rest of the park to attract major retailers and other investment.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is optimistic that city voters will approve selling the other 48 acres. He expects investment will come quickly, if the land is allowed to be put up for sale.

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Politics & Government
4:35 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Lansing mayor announces $11 million deficit for next fiscal year

Lansing city hall.
MI SHPO flickr

The city of Lansing faces an $11 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.

City officials say the shortfall is due largely to a steep decline in property tax revenues. Rising pension, health care, and salaries are also to blame. The numbers take into account the extra money the city is taking in from a new tax levy voters approved a year ago, but the city has almost reached its constitutional limit on how much money it can raise in new taxes.  In a press release, Mayor Virg Bernero says the funding model for Michigan cities is "broken." 

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Lansing
6:40 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Lansing's financial health will be reviewed by panel appointed by the mayor

Former Lansing mayor David Hollister (right) speaks during a news conference. Mayor Virg Bernero (left) announced the formation of a panel to study the city's financial problems.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor has appointed a committee to take a hard look at the capital city’s financial health.

The committee is made up of some of Lansing’s top business and civic leaders.

Declining property taxes and state revenue sharing dollars combined with rising costs are squeezing Lansing’s finances.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the committee will come up with short-term and long-term proposals for dealing with the city’s financial problems.

Former mayor David Hollister will chair the committee.

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Lansing
5:16 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Lansing mayor uses his veto pen, city council president "disappointed"

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) (file photo)
(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. 

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Lansing
11:06 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Lansing City Council passes budget, mayor's veto looms

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.

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Lansing
11:36 am
Mon May 21, 2012

LCC offers to buy parking lot, option on vacant Oliver Towers apartment building too.

The old Oliver Towers apartment complex
(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The city of Lansing may finally be close to selling a long vacant apartment building that’s a short distance from the state capitol. 

The Oliver Towers has been closed for a decade since it was heavily damaged by a fire.

Numerous attempts to sell the property have failed.

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Lansing
1:01 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Lansing City Council votes on budget plan tonight

(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.

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Lansing
12:38 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Lansing City Council delays budget vote

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.”

Lansing
12:06 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Lansing city budget review entering final weeks

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero seen here delivering his FY2013 budget address earlier this year
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing city council may soon face a critical test to see if it might be able to override the mayor’s plans for how to spend property tax money earmarked for public safety.

The Lansing city council is expected to vote in two weeks on the city’s budget for next year. But one major point of contention between the council and mayor Virg Bernero remains.

Voters last year approved a special public safety property tax. The mayor wants to spend part of the revenue next year on hiring back more than a half dozen laid off police officers and renovate a city owned building for police operations.

But Council President Brian Jeffries and other council members would rather all the money be spent on hiring laid off police officers. But in the end, he says it’s a question of numbers.

"It takes five votes to amend the budget on the floor," says Jeffries, "and once its passed it takes six votes to override a veto."

Jeffries says he hasn’t polled his fellow council members on how they will vote on the mayor’s public safety budget.

The council has until the middle of this month to act on the mayor’s budget plan.

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