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Business Community Pushing for Short and Long Term Reforms to Support City of Lansing FHT

Tuesday, May 21, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michelle Rahl
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ross Woodstock
May 21, 2013 Kolt Communications, Inc
  517-706-0001/517-410-7636
Ross@Koltpr.com

Business Community Pushing for Short and Long Term Reforms to Support City of Lansing Financial Health Team Recommendations

Now that the City of Lansing 2013-2014 budget has been adopted, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) is urging Mayor Virg Bernero and the Lansing City Council to take tough action and implement recommendations recently advanced by a panel of business leaders that studied the city’s financial position.

The LRCC call-to-action was made following an April 19 meeting between business leaders, Mayor Bernero and members of the Mayor’s Financial Health Team (FHT). While the LRCC and business community are fully supportive of the entire FHT report, they have identified several priorities that call for short and long term reforms to address the City of Lansing’s financial challenges. Recommendations include:

  • Creating an Authority between the City of Lansing and Lansing School District for purposes of achieving efficiencies by combining key operational and infrastructure needs;
  • Pension system and health care reforms to address an estimated $600 million in unfunded liabilities;
  • $3 million in funding reductions in public safety (police and fire) contracts;
  • Consider privatization of certain non-core functions.
  • Explore alternative funding options for Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority;
  • Continue to advance broader regional cooperation, collaboration and consolidation efforts; and
  • Elimination of general fund subsidies for Cemetery Operations, Human Services, Building Department Fund and Golf Courses

"It is our fundamental belief that a strong central city is essential for the future of our region,” said Tim Daman, LRCC President and CEO. "The City of Lansing must make tough decisions to institute meaningful cuts in current spending, replenish its reserve fund and fund liabilities and legacy costs.”

The LRCC and members of the Financial Health Team expressed concern that the City of Lansing’s 2013-14 budget did not go far enough in incorporating FHT recommendations. Now that the budget is approved, the LRCC and the business community are committed to providing the leadership in addressing meaningful long term reforms.

"Retiree health care is costing the City of Lansing $20 million annually, which is simply not sustainable,” said Daman. "We are well past the point where the City of Lansing and the region can ignore the fiscal reality that is staring us in the face.”

Among recommendations by the FHT is a provision to shift the city’s pensions from a city controlled operation to the Municipal Employees Retirement Services (MERS). The FHT report estimates that had MERS been managing the City’s pensions for the past decade, the City would have saved $70 million.

The mission of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) is to be the preeminent business advocacy organization in the Greater Lansing region by collaborating for economic growth, creating new opportunities for our members and upholding pro-business ideals through the advancement of sound public policy. More information about LRCC and its programs and services can be found on any of its social media platforms, including www.lansingchamber.org, Facebook, Twitter (@Lansing Chamber), Linked In and You Tube.

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