The Lansing Public Safety Millage is bringing in about $7 million to be split almost evenly between police and fire departments.
Two-thirds of that is to go to rising costs of operation. It's the last third which council member Carol Wood wants to go toward bringing back all the police and firefighters laid off in the past few years.
"It's important that the millage money actually be used to make sure that we're paying either wages or benefits, whatever it is to make sure we have fire and police personnel that were laid off first...that's the promise we made the public when we asked them to pass that millage."
Mayor Virg Bernero disagrees, saying the promise was to maintain as many jobs as possible. That's why so much money is needed: to keep up with rising pension and utility costs.
Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro agrees: "Without this revenue, additional reductions would have been necessary."
The plan as written would bring back one fire and nine police jobs. Any more than that is irresponsible in the mayor's eyes.
"Council members talk about hiring more, and more. How are we going to pay for that down the road?" Bernero said.
Meaning, extra hires now, would be lost with probable layoffs later. Instead, the mayor thinks investing in a new police headquarters and a new ambulance is the way to go.