Center City District bond and TIF update // Alice Dreger

There’s good financial news emerging on the Center City District project — the strict cost-control measures put in place by now-Mayor Ruth Beier and her colleagues on Council in 2017 turn out to be stricter than we had realized. In 2017, the TIF was effectively reduced by Council from a $56M cap to a $50M cap!

Combined with the new valuation method from tax assessor David Lee for big apartment buildings, this means that the Center City TIF will pay off years earlier than expected.

The same is happening with the Park District TIF — it is set to pay off much faster than projected because of the Lee’s new valuation method. (This is why the Hub has turned out to be the biggest golden goose ever for East Lansing.)

The troubling news is that the CIty’s Bond Council, Bill Danhof of Miller Canfield, seems not to have understood the $50M cap as he’s worked on the BRA bonds, past and future. I’m also confused about why City Attorney Tom Yeadon didn’t seem to bring this information to the table last Thursday. (Mr. Yeadon’s contract is on the City Council agenda for tomorrow night. Read about that here.)

But again, we have protection imposed by Council on the developers’ costs — the City did not back the BRA bond with “full faith and credit,” so the developers can’t come after us for $875K in issuance costs it now looks like they will never get back.

You can read a fairly plain-English version of the latest at ELi today.

You can also read the letter and supporting material I sent to the BRA and City Council this morning, attached.

My thanks to Mark Meadows for walking me through this complex set of materials this weekend (and he was up north trying to paint a garage!).

Alice Dreger

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