City Attorney Says "It's a Rate Increase"...But Will It Pass - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

City Attorney Says "It's a Rate Increase"...But Will It Pass

It was practically handed to city attorney Janene McIntyre her first day on the job,deciding whether to call a 46 dollar utility charge for households and businesses a tax or fee.

Tonight, Mcintyre called it a rate increase which means it will not go before voters, but as our Nick Perreault explains there still some work to be done for this plan to get the green light.

For years the city of Lansing has paid for fire hydrant through their general fund, but now the city attorney says it could soon be on your dime.

"It was my opinion that the city would be able to make a request to the board water and light where this would be a rate," said City Attorney Janene McIntyre.

City attorney Janene McIntyre says, if Lansing's board of water and light approves, it would mean a rate hike on your utility bill to help pay for the fire hydrants.

But to keep the street lights on, council would have to approve a special assessment.

Right now the city pays for the lights, but that too could change.

"People can't take anymore and even if they could, they're tired of taking it," said Council Member Jody Washington.

Council member Jody Washington has stood firm on the issue, saying raising rates isn't the answer.

"What the city attorney has done has laid out legal options, what it tells me is that we can do it," Mayor Bernero said.

Mayor Bernero says it may not be the best case scenario, but in a time where property values and shared revenue are down, he's says this is the way to go.

"I have to provide vital services, I have to make sure the 911 calls get answered, I don't need more 911 calls when the street lights go out, that's not going to happen on my watch, if I can help it," Mayor Bernero said.

But council president Carol Wood says rate hikes and special assessments might not be necessary.

"We have to do things to continue to keep our residents here and we have to look at that as we are passing this budget and that's what we are going to try and do," Council President Wood said.

But whether that will include sticking you with the bill to pay for them, only time will tell.

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