Lansing working to fund legacy costs

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Unfunded liabilities, affecting those retired who receive benefits, but the money just isn’t there.

David Hollister is a former Lansing mayor and head of the financial health team in Lansing.

“The number of employees retiring has been going up. The number of employees paying into the retirement system to make it solvent has been going down,” Hollister said.

It’s the number one priority for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce for 2016. President and CEO Tim Daman says they’re trying to find solutions for the growing problem.

“Kind of going through this process over the coming you know three or four months and then really looking at it and what makes the most sense and the most economical sense for the city to do to kind of get their arms around this.”

The city of Lansing needs to get their arms around $431 million in unfunded liability of retiree health care.

“Right now, we have two retirees for every one worker in the city,” Hollister said.

“It’s easy to do the math there and see that it’s just not something that we’re going to be able to sustain long term,” Daman said.

Daman says it’s a big issue and not just a city of Lansing issue.

“It’s an issue I think it’s an issue within all of our municipalities, whether it be cities, townships, villages, counties,” Daman said.

With such a widespread problem, everyone is working together to prevent further negative long-term effects.

“It’s the sensible solutions but it does have the ability long term, if not address, to really impact you know future economic growth, investment and job creation through not only the region but throughout the state,” Daman said.

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