LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – You can ask anyone to talk about their 2016, and most likely you’ll hear a review full of personal ups and downs.
But for elected leaders, like Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, those highs and lows are not just personal, they can affect an entire city.
“All the trend lines are headed in the right direction, the things that you look at, as I say, unemployment, crime, down. Population loss has stopped, were now gaining population, that’s a key indicator and the challenges that we have, we’re addressing,” says Mayor Bernero.
He says, 2016 had it’s share of both challenges and accomplishments.
One of those being, Lansing’s regulation of marijuana.
According to Mayor Bernero, “It’s kind of amazing that we’ve seen this new industry, state licensed medical marijuana cards and the dispensaries that provide for that, for that change in State law, and yet overall crime is down in the city.”
The Mayor says, dispensaries don’t pose a problem, but he believes there’s work to be done when it comes to home grown operations.
“You’ve got people essentially turning some homes into a greenhouse in the middle of a neighborhood,” exclaims Mayor Bernero.
Another issue this year, were questions regarding Former City Attorney, Janene McIntyre’s controversial exit in February.
Mayor Bernero stands by his decision to buy out McIntyre’s contract, saying he needed a team that worked together, meaning he needed to make a trade.
“I run a $200,000,000 budget, I run it well. I’ve done it for 10-years, and every once and a while you to make a personnel decision that is good for the whole,” says Mayor Bernero.
All challenges aside, from an economic perspective, Mayor Bernero says Lansing’s headed in the right direction.
“The long term outlook for automotive and automotive related is great, and the suppliers, we’ve got suppliers announced that they’re moving, they’re looking at lansing, not only looking at lansing, but moving to lansing, so our old GM sites are going to be developed,” says Mayor Bernero.
In terms of infrastructure, Bernero says one of this year’s greatest successes, was wrapping up a 10-year project to eliminate lead water pipes.
Mayor Bernero claims, “As it turned out, that was a very wise move, and we’re one of now only two cities in the country to be lead free, in terms of delivering water to our residents.”
However, he says there’s still many things to work on in 2017.