At the top of the list of reforms to make public-private development credible is preventing anyone with a history of fraud, tax delinquencies, mortgage defaults and foreclosures, etc. from receiving tax incentives or otherwise engaging in partnerships or dealings with government. This not only limits moral risk—remember East Lansing has done brownfield projects with developers who have committed fraud and had terrible tax payment records, a major reason for the city’s reputation for corruption and cronyism—business people with these factors … Read more →
Mayor Mark Meadows wrote on July 24, “I was just as surprised as everyone to see that the developer was advertising the Grand River property as ‘student housing.’ The Grand River housing was approved as market rate housing and was to be advertised as available to anyone.”
Another wonderful example of an excuse-making professional politician having to choose between admitting he was in the know from the beginning or coming across as a moron.
Ruth Beier knew, she … Read more →
I have already commented about the East Lansing tax proposal arguing that the imposition of a City income tax or an increase in the property tax are inherently limited as a solution to the City’s fiscal issues. The main point is that the City is relatively small and surrounded by similar suburban communities with essentially equivalent access to major employers, making it relatively easy for individuals and businesses to select locations outside the City.
The point of this comment … Read more →
I’d like to thank Mr Wolf for reinforcing my point with his informative email. The difference between consumption taxes (as most of the taxes he mentioned ARE consumption taxes) and income taxes is EXACTLY the reason that some STATES don’t even collect income tax!
Consumption taxes are more progressive than income taxes and (in the East Lansing situation) don’t punish “non-residents” for East Lansing’s financial mismanagement and force them to pay for anyone else’s “quality of life”.
So, yes, compare … Read more →
While East Lansing may have limited options to increase property taxes, there is the option to raise more money via property taxes in the form of increased property values and reassessment at the time of sale. While there are the issues of potential bait and switch by developers, etc, there are also the issues that East Lansing seems to be afraid of student developments and increased urban density. Yes, previous eras of MSU students acted in ways that hurt the … Read more →
Public-private development in East Lansing is simple. Promise something to get lucrative tax breaks and bond financing. Then build what is most profitable, high priced student apartments and late night bars, which could have been built without tax giveaways or subsidized parking structures. Developers are never held accountable for bait and switch. No one is ever fired for aiding and abetting.
Next shoe to fall is the senior housing with the deck for the old folks with the Trump dye-jobs.
The Center City District project was sold during East Lansing’s planning approval process as a project that would bring “market-rate rental housing” downtown. The claim by the project’s proponents was that the 12-story apartment building along Grand River Avenue would attract – in addition to MSU students – working adults whose downtown residency would in turn diversify retail and dining opportunities downtown.
I have heard from a number of people asking me to review the history of the costly pursuit of redevelopment in East Lansing, in case anyone wishes to challenge the “not our fault” party line from city hall with regards to financial troubles. This is a summary, based on previous analysis.
1) Somewhat more than 20 years ago, Meadows, Singh, Jester, et al hired “Ted Almighty” Staton as city manager and gave him bonuses for bringing in development. Staton was … Read more →
Here’s latest on the controversial sale of the Ann Arbor Library Lot to Core Spaces for $10 million.
The Library Lot is 0.8 acres.
East Lansing Lot 1 was 1.35 acres.
If East Lansing had followed the city charter and asked voters to allow sale of Lot 1 and sold for a comparable per-acre value, the city would have received $16,875,000.
On paper, based on value of the recent sales of the private properties for the Harbor Bay … Read more →
As East Lansing Info reported on Friday , a motion to vote on the development “Albert Town Homes 2” (by council member Aaron Stephens ), was not ‘seconded’ by another Council member at the meeting this week, and thus, went nowhere.
The development proposal – put forward by by Hagan Group LLC – is for three townhouse-like student rentals, which would replace two older rental homes on the property along Albert Ave, across from the Bailey parking lot. The Hagan Group built an almost identical set of … Read more →