Lansing City Council overrides Schor’s vetoes of 2024 budget line items
The city of Lansing has taken one of the final steps towards authorizing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The City Council voted Monday night to override Mayor Andy Schor’s line-item vetoes to the upcoming fiscal year budget.
Last week, city councilmembers approved an amended budget that pulled more than $200,000 from the mayor’s office to support warming and cooling centers as well as road and sidewalk repairs.
Mayor Andy Schor had issued vetoes of those changes. He said the amendments would force his office to cut positions and reduce services for residents.
"Removing positions from my budget negatively affects the services that the people of the City of Lansing expect when they contact my office," he wrote in a letter to the council. "I am deeply disappointed that a majority of City Council chose to reduce staff in my office as the only option for these cuts."
Speaking to the mayor's concerns at Monday's council meeting, Ward 3 Councilmember Adam Hussain pointed out other departments’ budgets have been reduced to cut city expenses. He said he expected the mayor to be willing to take pay cuts and reduce his office's budget in order to share the burden with the rest of the city.
“There’s supposed to be that shared sacrifice," Hussain said. "Frankly, when you look up at this dais, there’s only one person that has not had any measure of sacrifice within their own shop, and that’s why we went after it."
The council voted 6-1 Monday night to overrule Schor, with Council President Carol Wood recusing herself due to a conflict of interest on the budget and At-Large Councilmember Peter Spadafore voting against the resolution.
Schor's veto would have also moved $1.9 million in unallocated dollars to city departments. He framed the shift as part of balancing the city's budget.
Hussain criticized the move and said the Mayor should have added the money to the rainy day fund. The council's override means Schor will have to send a recommendation to the council on where those dollars should go.
While the vast majority of the budget process has been finalized, a few pieces of Lansing's plan to fund city services remain to be determined ahead of the 2024 fiscal year. Officials say they expect the mayor’s office to authorize "carryovers" in June and allow unspent dollars from the current fiscal year to roll over next year.
Several public commenters came out to Monday's meeting to criticize Schor's veto and ask the council to override it. Ward 1 councilmember Ryan Kost said he was glad to see the community involvement.
“This is how democracy works," Kost said. "With this veto override, we have a real chance now to talk about this money and do this process properly and work together.”
"We can we can look at this as us versus them, but I look at this as an opportunity to start fresh and we can move this city forward."