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Lansing's mayor grappling with rising legacy costs

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is not ruling out some “pain” as the city deals with a rising legacy costs.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor sat down with his Financial Health Team for the first time today to discuss ways of dealing with the capitol city’s long-term liabilities.

It’s estimated Lansing has more than $700 million in unfunded pension and other retiree costs. Moreover, the city’s liability has only grown as the number of city retirees grows and they live longer.

Schor says changes are needed in the way the city does business.

“Now that’s a change, not necessarily pain,” says Schor, “But to some people, any change is pain because it’s different.”

Despite the size of the problem, Schor is not expected to include any major changes when he presents his first city budget later this month.  

“This is not a one year budget item,” says Schor. “This isn’t something we’re going to solve $700 million in the budget next year.  We don’t have $700 million in the budget next year.  We have about $130 million.”

The mayor expects to get the first recommendations from his Financial Health Team this summer.

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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