Budget review, Greek life discussed by E.L. City Council

Budget cuts to several park funds, recognition of MSU’s Greek Week and a new city attorney agreement were discussed at Tuesday’s East Lansing City Council meeting and budget work session at City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.

Council members and city officials came together to discuss funds for the Parks and Recreation Facilities, Capital Improvement for the Parks and the Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, for the 2014 fiscal year budget.

Parks & Recreation Facilities, one of the services mentioned at the meeting, experienced about 5 percent decrease from the past fiscal year.

The fund supports the Hannah Community Center, Aquatic Center and several parks. Active Living for Adults was privatized by LAP Respite Center, a non-profit agency that provides lifespan respite services, to ensure all costs were accounted for.

“We do have some parks maintenance that are still in the general fund; but everything else related to all the programming; soccer, softball, athletics for school athletic programs, recreational arts, aquatics and (the Hannah Community Center) are all in the Parks and Recreation fund,” East Lansing Finance Director Mary Haskell said.

Funding for the MSU Great Lakes Folk Festival also was reduced, contributing to the decrease. The MSU Great Lakes Folk Festival is an event that celebrates a combination of music, art and cultural heritage held from Aug. 9 to 11 in downtown East Lansing.

Capital Improvements for the Parks had a 1.5 percent decrease from last year, with the deferral of the Patriarche Park Playground Project playing a major role.

Money for the project was budgeted in 2013 but never was initiated or spent, Haskell said.

“It is because of the timing,” Haskell said. “(East Lansing Rotary Club and the Natural Resources Trust Fund) are still collecting and doing fundraising for that project. ”

Downtown Development Authority also had a decrease of 2.49 percent.

At the council meeting later in the evening, they passed a resolution that recognized MSU Greek Week.

Last month, the Greek community collaborated to raise more than $70,000 for charities such as the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation and Autism Speaks.

“We greatly appreciate all the involvement from the council members and all the support that we received,” Advertising junior and Panhellenic Council Vice President of External Relations Anna Richards said.

A new city attorney contract also was unanimously approved by council.

The contract for City Attorney Tom Yeadon serves as a continuation of the previous agreement, with the exception it is for three years and has no increase in legal services fees for the fiscal year.

“I have been appreciative of the work he has done this past year with some of the issues that we have had and bringing closure to them,” Mayor Diane Goddeeris said.

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