Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

Community Center policy changing

City Council wants fees waived for use by service organizations

July 19, 2007

Use of the Lansing Community Center will be free to Lansing service organizations, under a proposed policy revision discussed by Lansing City Council members.

At a work session Thursday, July 12, council members gave their tacit approval to the fee-less use of the center, which is in the basement of City Hall, to the service organizations. Currently, all Lansing-based groups using the community center must post a $75 deposit and pay a $25 set-up fee for use of the center. The mayor can waive the fee for use on a weekday.

"I think it's the Community Center. If we built it for the community, it should be provided for the community. If it's full every night, full of everybody nonprofit, not paying a thing, I'm perfectly comfortable with that," said Council member Harland Russell.

When Council president Andi Pawlowski asked how much the council should budget for the center's operation with that idea in mind, Council member Kenneth Ketchum answered, "Whatever it takes."

Ketchum noted that when the city built City Hall, the council promised Community Center fees would be kept to a minimum and he intended to keep that promise.

Mayor Kenneth Bernard told council members he would rewrite the policy to reflect their desires. Council members would have to approve the proposed policy at an upcoming meeting before it could take place.

But for Lansing groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Historical Society, Lions, Kiwanis, Community Club and others that provide services to city residents, there'll be no waiting to use the center for free; Bernard said he would begin waiving the fees immediately as long as the desired date of use didn't fall on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Budget discussions

Also at their work session Thursday, Council members agreed to include a list of departmental requests in the proposed 2008 city budget.

Among the spending proposals:

¢ $35,000 for an additional police officer

¢ $31,250 for a software package that will allow inspectors to key information into a handheld computer at work sites to speed permitting and inspection processes.

¢ $10,000 for a "Top Dresser," which will be used to evenly spread materials on ballfields.

¢ $14,000 for a part-time clerk in the city's Public Works Department.

¢ $40,000 to hire the city's Main Street project liaison permanently to assist with both the Economic Development and Public Works departments.

The council also consented to budget lines giving $10,000 to St. Vincent's Clinic and $5,000 to the Alliance Against Family Violence.

The approved items will keep City Manager Mike Smith's proposed levy for 2008 at 34.217 mills, just under the 34.575 mills in this year's budget.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

The council will set its public hearing on the budget for 7 p.m. Aug. 2.

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