LANSING | The Village Board on Tuesday approved the purchase of land adjacent to the Village Hall for parking, despite objections by one trustee who said he wishes the money could have been used to pay salaries for more police officers.
Trustee Michael Manno, himself a retired officer with the Lansing Police Department, said it is common for patrol officers to work 12-hour shifts because there are at least three vacancies he is aware of that were created in the past year, yet never filled. Manno said he has heard of instances where police officers work up to 18 hours at a time.
“That’s dangerous,” Manno said. “It’s not safe for the officer, nor is it safe for the citizens to have officers working that much.”
Manno said it was the sense Lansing needs to devote more attention to filling vacancies in the Police Department that motivated him Tuesday to vote “no” on the proposal to purchase land at 3157 Ridge Road.
“That’s why I voted against it,” Manno said, repeating the need for more police officers. “We have got to come up with the money somewhere.”
Manno was the lone trustee to vote against the land purchase, which passed by a 5-1 vote.
Village Administrator J. Wynsma said the land is directly east of the Village Hall at 3141 Ridge Road. The village acquired the land for $175,000, using funds from a tax increment finance district fund meant to benefit the downtown business district along Ridge Road.
Wynsma said the plot, which will create about 20 more parking spaces near Village Hall, is necessary. He said many of the parking spaces now used by people doing business at Village Hall are on land owned by the Chase Bank, which has not objected.
But Wynsma said the village would like to have more parking it directly controls.
“Should the time come when people can’t park in the Chase Bank lots, then we need to be prepared,” he said.
In other business, the Village Board was told by Trustee Terry Kapteyn of a new device with an articulating arm purchased for the Public Works Department that allows for the cutting of grass growing in ditches and along frontage roads.
Previously, the Public Works Department did not have equipment capable of cutting such grass, which resulted in the village hiring private landscaping companies.
Kapteyn could not say how much money the village was saving from the purchase, but said, “Now, we can do it in-house.”