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East Lansing City Council approves 2025 fiscal year budget

Albert Avenue photo
City of East Lansing

The East Lansing City Council is approving the city’s budget for the next fiscal year.

The council okayed a spending plan Tuesday with a general fund of around $51 million, around $6 million more than the city's current budget.

"I am excited about partnering with Michigan State University, the city's Boards & Commissions, the Neighborhood Associations, and our residents and visitors in supporting what makes East Lansing an excellent place to live, work, and play," wrote City Manager Robert Belleman in a letter to the council last month.

Officials said the city is making progress towards filling employee vacancies. The budget allocates additional dollars to hire new firefighters and emergency medical technicians, police officers and staff members for the city's public works and finance departments.

Belleman had asked for a deputy city manager position in his office, citing a need for additional staff to handle the workload and support a succession plan if a future manager were to step down.

“There's a lot of issues that are still very pending in the city of East Lansing, a lot of work that needs to be done," Belleman said. "If we're going to focus a lot on reestablishing regional, local and state relationships, that means a lot of meetings that are taking place. .. that consumes a great deal of my time."

City councilmembers removed that position from the budget, citing cost concerns.

Prior to the amended budget's passage on Tuesday, finance staff said the spending plan included about an operating deficit of $4.6 million for capital improvements and staffing. The city expects to see a surplus of $9.4 million from the current budget.

Mayor George Brookover introduced an amendment to temporarily pause the collection of certain businesses permit and licensing fees until Nov. 1. He asked officials to consider updates to its structure for fees.

"I've ... received communications from downtown business owners about whether our fee structure is A: fair [and] B: really makes sense in this day and age," Brookover said.

Other spending approved in the budget includes an expansion of the Northern Tier Trail to Coolidge Road and facility improvements for City Hall and the Hannah Community Center.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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