LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – City officials in Lansing want to know, what are your priorities for the city? Where do you want resources and funding and attention to go?

More than a dozen people joined the first of four meetings geared toward teaching about the budget-making process on Thursday. For people who showed up tonight, they hope to see real change from their suggestions.

“I’ve spoken to every city council member. I’ve spoken to Andy Schor’s office. I’ve spoken to Brian McGrain about it. So I’ll keep talking about it as long as I need to but I know there is precedence for it across so I’m just wondering when we’ll take that leap and do it too,” said resident Charla Burnett.

Charla Burnett was one of more than a dozen people that shared their concerns with Lansing ity leaders on what should be addressed in the city budget for 2024.

From policing to quality of living, people went back and forth with their questions about city management in all sectors and even proposed their own changes to the policy. Burrett says her biggest concern is housing and taxes on rentals.

“So there’s just a lot of housing issues here in Lansing that I’m particularly focused on and interested in finding creative solutions,” she said.

City officials also helped residents get a better picture of Lansing’s current finances. City documents show $155.5 million make up this year’s general fund budget.

The three top buckets?

Retirement and benefits, Lansing Police Department funding, and money for the fire department.

DeLisa Fountain is the director of Neighborhood, Arts and Citizen Engagement and said the idea for the meetings started in 2018. She said reaching out to the community helps city leaders efficiently use their tax dollars.

“We can say you want programs for specific things but if the residents are saying no we want something different then we need to listen to what the residents want,” Fountain said.

Fountain said discussions have led to real change, citing the creation of a sustainability manager position four years ago. She hopes better awareness about the budget will drive more interest.

“It’s exciting and I think the more people that know about the process the more empowered they feel and the more engagement we’ll have,” said Fountain.

City leaders said the next meeting is set for December 8 at the South Lansing library at 3500 South Cedar Street. The full list can be found here.

The full city budget including the city-wide and general budget for FY 2022-2023 can be found here.