Lansing mayor uses his veto pen, city council president "disappointed"

May 24, 2012

Mayor Virg Bernero today vetoed a portion of the city budget plan approved by the Lansing City Council Monday night. 

The city council now has two weeks to see if it can override the veto. 

Mayor Bernero’s veto focused on the city council’s decision to demand more money from Lansing's municipal utility.    The council wanted an extra million and a half dollars a year to spend on hiring more police officers and firefighters. The money would also have cut the number of city employee furlough days.

But in his veto message, Bernero accused the city council of using the utility as “a personal piggy bank.”  

“I cannot countenance the City Council treating the Board of Water and Light like a personal piggy bank,” Bernero said in a written statement,  "We must tighten our own belts, just like the residents of our city are required to do when their finances come up short, instead of pushing our problems onto the backs of BWL ratepayers.”
City Council president Brian Jeffries says he’s “disappointed” by the mayor’s veto. 

“That’s his prerogative," says Jeffries,  "(Mayor Virg Bernero) thinks the priorities of the city are different and should go in a different direction…we’ll see how it turns out.”   

Jeffries says Lansing needs more police on the streets to combat the city's crime problem. 

The city council approved the budget plan by a five to three vote.   That would leave the council one vote shy of the six needed to override the mayor’s veto.