Has East Lansing's City Council followed what the Financial Health Team recommended with regard to managing the City's pensions? ELi's Chris Root has been investigating this question for months. Today we bring you her findings.
East Lansing’s Financial Health Team (FHT) was aware that the City had already changed from defined benefit to hybrid plans for new hires in many employee groups. These new hybrid plans began in 2010 and 2011, and 125 City employees had been enrolled in these plans by December 2016. (This already represents 47% of the total of the 268 current employees who are participants in the City’s retirement system.)
Among the East Lansing Financial Health Team (FHT) pension recommendations was that East Lansing “continue to negotiate overtime and personal leave limits in FAC, and work towards a 240 hour (or less) maximum of final payouts in FAC.”
East Lansing’s Financial Health Review Team (FHT) recommended that the City Council consider having the City issue $30 or $40 million in bonds in order to make a lump-sum payment into the pension funds, thus reducing its unfunded liabilities. The goal would be to make the City’s annual required payments more manageable and more stable. Of course, by issuing bonds, the City would incur interest payments for the duration of the bonds.
Why can’t the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center be sold or the management transferred into private hands? Why would the Parks and Recreation Director suggest that the water park be demolished if it is closed?
East Lansing’s City Council voted unanimously tonight to put an income tax on the August 7 ballot. The proposal looks different from the measure that failed in November, and is aimed at dealing with the City's major financial problems.
A proposed downtown project would have quadrupled tax revenue on the properties, increased density, provided adequate parking, and looked like a project right next door. So why did three Council Members send it into limbo, leaving the other two frustrated?
Next Wednesday, May 9, City Council will hold public hearings on what (if any) tax proposal to put on the August ballot for East Lansing. ELi's Chris Root explains the draft proposals and tells you how you can weigh in.
Staffing cuts have left the City’s emergency response levels well below national standards. As more cuts are coming, East Lansing's Fire and Police Chiefs are working to figure out the least worst choices. ELi's Jessy Gregg reports.