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Wednesday, May 22,2013

Cold-case detective coming

Mayor Bernero promises to veto City Council's decision to exclude a full-time cold-case investigator in next fiscal year's budget

by Andy Balaskovitz
In his office Monday night shortly after the Lansing City Council adopted a budget for the next fiscal year, the first item Mayor Virg Bernero promised to veto was the Council's elimination of a new, full-time cold-case investigator.
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Wednesday, May 22,2013

Disclosing pay

Two City Council members' non-disclosure of financial interests suggests a weak ethics ordinance

by Andy Balaskovitz
Lansing City Council President Carol Wood earned at least $4,700 as a consultant to political campaigns in 2012, yet she didn't have to report any information on it under the city's ethics ordinance.
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Tuesday, May 21,2013

Update: Bernero budget plan rejected

Council says no to streetlight/hydrant ‘fee’

by Andy Balaskovitz
Friday, May 17 — Instead of charging city Board of Water and Light customers fees for streetlights and fire hydrants, the Lansing City Council wants to increase the publicly owned utility’s payment in lieu of taxes to balance next fiscal year’s budget.
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Tuesday, May 21,2013

Kids in the Hall

Council approves a budget in messy fashion, Mayor Bernero promises some vetoes

by Andy Balaskovitz
Tuesday, May 21 — The Lansing City Council approved a fiscal year 2014 budget at Monday’s meeting, but it was ugly. The process, that is.
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Thursday, May 16,2013

Bernero weighing options for BWL fees

City attorney issues formal legal opinion on proposed fees for streetlights, fire hydrants

by Andy Balaskovitz
Thursday, May 16 — Lansing City Attorney Janene McIntyre issued a formal legal opinion today saying the city could move forward with charging Lansing Board of Water and Light customers fees for fire hydrants as part of Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposed budget. However, the City Council would need to amend an ordinance to allow for a special assessment to pay for streetlights.
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Thursday, May 16,2013

The ride of silence

Annual bike ride remembering bicyclists killed or fatally injured by motor vehicles resonates locally after fatal accident this week

by Andy Balaskovitz
Thursday, May 16 — A procession of nearly 200 bicyclists traveled from Michigan State University to the Capitol Wednesday night. As a police escort stopped traffic along Michigan Avenue throughout the ride, it felt as if the cyclists were making the statement to idle cars watching: “These are our roads, too.”
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Wednesday, May 15,2013

What about those 'fees?'

Bernero administration still unclear whether proposed fire hydrant and streetlight charges would be a fee or a tax

by Andy Balaskovitz
With less than a week to go before the Lansing City Council must adopt a new budget, the single biggest issue has yet to be resolved. The question is whether Mayor Virg Bernero's proposed charge for hydrants and streetlights is a fee or a tax. The Council can increase fees, but a tax would require a vote of the people.
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Wednesday, May 15,2013

Ride or fly

Mayor, Council president and business community — in defense of airport — line up against federal grant for Michigan Flyer. One supporter calls for a grown up in the debate.

by Andy Balaskovitz
Tension between the Capital Region Airport Authority and Michigan Flyer has been rekindled in recent weeks as the private bus service seeks local approval for a $595,680 federal grant to expand its service between East Lansing and Ann Arbor.
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Monday, May 13,2013

Kids in the Hall

Budget hearings round 7: Mayor’s Office and Community Media

by Andy Balaskovitz
Monday, May 15 — The city’s Office of Community Media had a strong year at its temporary home in a former National Guard armory. Within the next year it expects to be operating from the newly renovated Holmes Street School alongside a technology empowerment center.
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Wednesday, May 8,2013

JNL's money grab

Lest we forget when Jackson National Life successfully argued its new headquarters was "obsolete" to lower its property tax payments. On Tuesday, a compromise was reached with the city.

by Andy Balaskovitz
As the local media drank up good jobs news last week like an alcoholic at a Christmas party, there's been no mention of the fact that less than three years ago, Jackson National Life Insurance Co. fought the city for hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes.
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