Mayor Says Rate Hikes and Cuts Possible - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Mayor Says Rate Hikes and Cuts Possible

The clock is ticking for Lansing Mayor Virg Benero, he has just under a week to review the financial health teams recommendations before presenting them to city council.

Nick Perreault looks at two options the mayor says would be bold and tough to swallow, but are a reality to keep the city moving in the right direction.

No matter it's color or design, the mayor's financial health team says changing who pays for them could mean big savings.

"We maintain all the hydrants at this point and we're responsible for the streets lights at the current situation," said Board Water and Light Chair Sandy Zerkle.

Currently Lansing is under contract with the Board of Water and Light to pay for the 30,000 plus street lights and 3,000 fire hydrants across the city.

But the mayor's health team recommends, residents and business owners pay for it instead with a 45 dollar per year utility charge.

"Other communities have done it, so it's not something that is off the beaten track that is wild and unheard of," Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said.

"The move would save the city roughly 5 and half million dollars and the mayor says he is taking a serious look at all the recommendations to avoid shutting off the lights to the city.

"This issue has come up, this is one I have looked at over the years and we have been able to avoid, I'm not sure that this year we will be able to avoid it," Mayor Bernero.

The health team is also looking for help from police.

"They voluntarily reduce and negotiate a benefit package that saves a million dollars in their health plan," said Financial Health Team Chair Dave Hollister.

The financial team says it's either that or layoff 10 police officers.

"The reason we come back to the employees is because 85 cents of ever dollar that we spend is on employees it's on services, if you think about what the city does, we are a service organization," Mayor Bernero said.

Both the financial team and mayor say others have made concessions now it's time for the fraternal order of police.

"Come sit work with us, be willing to bargain and negotiate to in part to hold on to your brothers and sisters to keep your union brothers and sisters working, other wise we may have to look at reductions in force," Mayor Bernero said.

Choices the mayor will have to consider to avoid a dark future.

The Fraternal Order of Police was not available for comment and the Lansing city council is scheduled to hear the mayor's recommendations on Monday.

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