East Lansing explores financial options with no income tax

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s been nearly four weeks since the November election where East Lansing residents voted to reject an income tax proposal that would have generated around $5-million annually for the city.

Now officials are still trying to figure out how they’ll come up with the money.

A few weeks ago, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told 6 News that budget cuts would have to be made when it comes to police and fire personnel to make up for the city’s failed income tax proposal.

While they’ve already started making those cuts, that’s not the only areas city officials may target.

“We provided some examples of the things we would be looking at which is basically everything,” said Mayor Meadows.

Everything Mayor Meadows says that would impact East Lansing’s general budget.

“That is our main funding source for most of our activities in the city,” Meadows stated.

What exactly is on the table? Meadows says for one, the Hannah Community Center.

“It costs us about $250,000 to subsidize on an annual basis and we have to take a look at do we continue to do that in a certain way, would having this only open on weekends really save us any money?” said Meadows.

Meadows says increasing how much it costs to park in the city will also come into play as well.

“The objective there is to make the parking system pay for itself,” Meadows added.

But that’s not all…Meadows says there’s talk about closing the doors on the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center too.

“Over a five year period, it ends up costing us about $20,000 a year, is that enough of a savings to go on the checklist of money that we have available then for these legacy costs to actually close the center?” said Meadows.

While no decisions are set in stone yet, Meadows says if city leaders decide to go forward with these cuts, it will save the city roughly $4-million from its general fund.

“We really have to make some decisions pretty quickly because if we follow the recommendations of the financial health team, the next thing that we should be looking at are millage increases actually,” Meadows stated.

Mayor Meadows says residents will most likely start seeing these proposed changes happen in the beginning of next year or before July first which is the start of the new fiscal year.

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