EAST LANSING, Mich. — At its Feb. 16 regular meeting, East Lansing City Council adopted a resolution appointing a Financial Health Review Team for the City of East Lansing.
The Financial Health Review Team has been appointed to look at the overall financial sustainability of the City and consider new revenue and expenditure options. As a first priority, the team will be looking at methods to address unfunded liabilities in the City’s pension and other post-employment benefits; and, by July 31, will provide a report and recommendations to Council. Other items the team will look at include:
-Whether the City should seek a Headlee override, based on the current and projected value of real property in East Lansing;
-What, if any, standards, appropriate to the circumstances of the City of East Lansing, should apply to the granting of development incentives;
-What, if any, funding is available to the City for the purpose of carrying out the replacement and repair of infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, public buildings, water and sewer lines);
-What, if any, changes, enactment or revisions are warranted to stabilize City finances and accomplish the above objectives, including, but not limited to all current and potential sources of revenue, such as: license and permit fees, business and restaurant fees, fines and forfeitures, bonds, real property taxes, personal property taxes, income taxes and excise fees;
-What services the City should provide to its citizens, the sustainability of such services, the ability to change, reduce or replace such services and whether the City government is organized in a manner which efficiently and economically can provide such services.
With decreasing state revenue sharing over the past fifteen years and the continuing impact of the 2008 housing collapse, the City has experienced significant constraints to its primary sources of revenue. These revenue constraints, coupled with unfunded liabilities involving employee legacy costs and the need to reinvest in aging infrastructure, have resulted in significant financial challenges for the City.
“We have done many things to address our financial challenges over the past several years, including restructuring employee benefits, making additional legacy cost payments when possible, significantly reducing the overall size of government and making other strategic cost-cutting decisions across all City departments,” said East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas. “Despite these sustained efforts, our financial challenges have persisted.”
“The City will greatly benefit from the appointment of this 11-member Financial Health Review Team, which includes a diverse mix of highly skilled experts and residents,” said East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier. “Given that the financial health of the City is extremely important to Council and residents alike, we look forward to hearing from the team as to new revenue and expenditure options that will help to keep the East Lansing community vibrant, thriving and sustainable for years to come.”
The Financial Health Review Team will begin meeting this spring and all meetings will be open to the public. The meetings will be posted on the City of East Lansing’s website once a schedule has been established. The team is slated to meet regularly, at least monthly, through December 15, 2016. The review process will culminate with final recommendations to Council.
Members of the appointed Financial Health Review Team include:
Michael J. Moquin - Former Chief General Counsel for the Michigan Municipal Employees Retirement System; Former Division Coordinator, Michigan Department of Attorney General; Former Michigan Assistant Solicitor General; Retired
Eric Scorsone - Founding Director, Michigan State University Extension Center for State and Local Government Policy; Former Assistant Extension Professor, University of Kentucky; Colorado Governor's Office of State Planning and Budget; Former Senior Economist, City of Aurora, Colorado; Former Senior Economist, Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.
Robert J. Kleine - Current Principal at Great Lakes Economic Consulting; Former Treasurer of the State of Michigan; Former Vice-President Public Sector Consultants; Former Director of Michigan Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis
Jill Rhode - Current Director of Financial Services, Ingham County; Former Financial/Accounting Executive, Innovative Software; Former City Treasurer and Deputy Finance Director, City of Lansing; Former Assistant Finance Director and City Controller, City of Midland
Douglas Jester - Current Principal at 5 Lakes Energy; Former Mayor and City Councilmember, City of East Lansing; Former Senior Policy Adviser, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth
Susan Haka - Current Ernst & Young Endowed Professor of Accounting, Eli Broad College of Business at MSU; Former President, American Accounting Association; Recipient of the American Accounting Association Outstanding Educator Award
Aaron Harris - Current Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life; Current member of the Board of Directors, Ingham County Economic Development Corporation; Former Director of Engineering for Michigan Concrete Association
Tricia Foster - Current Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, CBRE/Martin and CBRE/Grand Rapids; Former Director of Operations, CBRE/Martin and CBRE/Grand Rapids
James Butler - Current Director of Urban Revitalization Division, Michigan State Housing Development Authority; Former Interim President, Michigan Broadband Authority; Former IBM Executive for Global Government Systems
Jeffrey Hicks - Current Vice President/Commercial Banking Officer at Mercantile Bank of Michigan; Current member of the Board of Directors, Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan; Former President, Clinton Task Force on Employment
Raymond D. Vlasin - Current Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University; Former Chairperson, Michigan State University Department of Resource Development; Former Dean, Michigan State University Lifelong Learning Programs; Former Assistant Chancellor for Outreach and Research, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay