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Lansing's mayor vetoes city council changes to his budget plan

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero today vetoed all the changes the city council made to his budget plan for next year.

The city council passed a budget on Monday that axed many of the mayor’s spending priorities in order to avoid new streetlight and fire hydrant fees.  The fees would have added up to about 46 dollars a year for the average Lansing Board of Water and Light residential customer. 

Money for road repairs, economic development, city IT services and personnel hiring were among the line items the city council axed from the budget. 

Bernero says he vetoed those changes because they don’t address Lansing’s structural budget problems.

“Using short-sighted, one-time cuts to avoid assessing residents a modest amount for hydrants is not a solution.  It is not a permanent solution.  It is not structural change,” Bernero told reporters just before he signed his veto message.

Bernero plans to ask the city’s utility to raise rates to pay for Lansing’s fire hydrants. He’ll also ask the utility’s officers to approve an increase in the money it pays Lansing in lieu of taxes. Bernero is optimistic the BWL board will agree before the next fiscal year begins on July 1. 

The Lansing city council has until June 3 to try to override the mayor’s budget vetoes. Overriding the mayor’s vetoes will be difficult. The council divided five to three on all the key budget votes.  Six votes are needed to override the mayor’s veto.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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