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Lansing Mayor Andy Schor calls for 13% increase in spending in proposed budget

facade of Lansing City Hall building
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is sharing his budget recommendations for the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

He is proposing a $275 million spending plan for the dedicated fund and $163.9 million for the city’s general fund. That represents a 13% and 5.4% increase respectively over the current budgets.

Schor says the costs of covering health care and pensions for retired city employees are driving that proposed bump in spending.

“We continue to pay each year, you know, we're paying between $55 and $60 million each year of our budget, to pay pensions and health care for our retirees based on previous contracts,” he said.

In 2021, the city owed former city employees more than $700 million dollars in pension and underfunded healthcare costs. Schor says that number is now down to $400 million.

Schor’s spending plan calls for funding repairs to city sidewalks and streets, new vehicles for city sewer and trash services, as well as election equipment upgrades.

“We’re doing well in terms of revenues, but we have significant expenses,” he said. “We continue to work on that we have a balanced budget which is what we have to have.”

The budget includes using some of the money the city received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act. The majority of those funds have already been allocated.

“Six or seven months ago, the council approved using that money for equipment for police and fire, neighborhood advisory board grants, money for economic development, money for parks,” Schor said. “That’s all in the process of being allocated and spent right now.”

Schor has also included an allocation for a parking study in his proposal to explore to assess and improve various aspects of parking in Lansing including evaluation hours and rates. $75,000 dollars have been set aside for that project in the budget.

“We want to see if there's a better, more efficient way to run our park system. It has to be sustainable. We have to be able to pay for our enforcement staff without taking a loss,” he added.

In Schor’s proposed budget he also has set aside $5,000 for the MLK Commission and for the Hispanic Heritage/Cesar Chavez recognition event.

The city council has until May to approve the budget.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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