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A closer look at Lansing's financial standing

11 people apply to fill vacated Ward 1 Lansing City Council seat
Posted at 8:48 PM, Jun 13, 2024

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story noted that Lansing raised its property taxes by 5%. That was incorrect, and we apologize for the error. City leaders tell us the property tax budget increased by 5% in fiscal year 2023 as a result of property values increasing, not a tax hike. That raised about $90 million in total property tax revenue the past two fiscal years.

Loretta Stanaway has become very knowledgeable on all things Lansing Government, especially the money.

“Anything that affects my pocket book, like my taxes, I have an interest in,” Stanaway said.

Loretta Stanaway

Like with the city's budget Stanaway paid close attention to Monday's Committee of the whole meeting, where Lansing's financial status was discussed.

“The legal debt limitation in Lansing is $306 million,” said Interim Internal Auditor James DeLine.

DeLine said the city has spent $229 million of that limit. We’re told most of that debt comes from the $175 million bond for a new public safety facility that voters approved in 2023, which comes with an interest rate of 4 to 5 percent.

Lansing Public Safety Facility

“This bond also carries a high interest rate or the highest interest rate you'll see on any of the outstanding bonds,” DeLine said.

But despite spending up most of the debt limitation, some city leaders are taking a different view.

“The question always is , is the city going broke?” Said Councilman Ryan Kost. “The internal auditor said that as well and he agreed, we’re financially were okay.”

Kost said the city has done a good job making sure they're bringing in the same amount of money they're putting out.

"It's something we don't wanna see more taxes, but its good like millages and taxes we put toward parks to keep our parks clean," Kost said.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor provided the following statement on the city’s financial standing:

“The long-term financial health and stability of the City is always top of mind as we need strong financial health to provide services to our residents, workers, and visitors. My administration has taken many steps to ensure the financial health of our City in the last few years, including stabilizing the reserves on hand while reducing unfunded liabilities. I am thrilled that the steps taken were reviewed by the internal auditor and shown to be successful. We will continue to have fiscal responsibility as we grow Lansing and ensure that everyone can receive the services needed, wanted, and expected.”

- Mayor Andy Schor

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