Fiscal Options for East Lansing // Ron Fisher

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 is the City has … Read more →

Service Solvency: An Analysis of Michigan Cities // Tali Faris-Hylen

Service Solvency: An Analysis of the Ability of Michigan Cities ....

I’ve read through this extensive piece put out by Robert Kleine, Interim Director and Mary Schulz, Associate Director Center for Local Government Finance and Policy Michigan State University Extension, and found it very informative given the financial situation East Lansing is in.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/235/75790/GMI_062_Service_Solvency_Report-9-2017.pdf

It addresses why cities like EL, that seem like truly vibrant communities in every way, have revenues far behind other communities. It specifically states how cities with per capita taxable value below $20,000 will struggle financially (East Lansing is $19,461). … Read more →

Road Construction, City Income Tax Video, and Business Changes Around Town // Matt Kazmierski

Punk Taco coming to East Lansing

There are a couple of large road construction projects that start today – Monday, June 25 – in East Lansing. The first is a section of N. Hagadorn road, between Haslett and Lake Lansing roads. More details can be found at  http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/construction . The second (long-awaited) project is being done by MDOT on Saginaw Highway between Coolidge and Hagadorn roads. According to a City news release, “The project will include 2.18 miles of hot mix asphalt cold milling and resurfacing, joint repairs, ADA upgrades to … Read more →

Review of the Cost of Redevelopment Financial Missteps // Eliot Singer

City Hall, East Lansing

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 an advocate of a … Read more →

Library Lot Ann Arbor vs Lot 1 East Lansing // Eliot Singer

Lot 1, Eat Lansing, pre-development

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2018/06/ann_arbor_inks_deal_to_sell_do.html

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 project, Lot 1 would … Read more →

Upcoming Road Construction and New Income Tax Proposal // Matt Kazmierski

Alton Road - bumpy

There will be a couple of large road construction projects coming up in East Lansing this summer, that you’ll probably want to be aware of. Beginning in early June, and going through the middle of August, work will occur on North Hagadorn (north of Haslett Rd to Lake Lansing Rd), and then on Alton Road(between Burcham and Saginaw). The construction on Alton will begin once the work on Hagadorn is completed. A detailed letter from senior engineer Steven Roach is attached.

In other tax dollar news…

During a special … Read more →

City Council Inaction on “Albert Town Homes 2” // Matt Kazmierski

Albert Townhomes 2 - would replace these two houses

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 townhomes adjacent to the … Read more →

Objective Assessment of Tax Options // Eliot Singer

I will leave it to East Lansing government to explain why it spent $20,000 tax dollars hiring a private consultant to conduct a scientifically worthless survey of tax options, when if it really wanted unfettered public input, it could have gotten that for free by asking neighborhood associations to hold town hall meetings, with members of Council in the audience in their capacity as citizens. Tabulating data when the data is not scientifically obtained is pointless. The first, and most important, thing I learned … Read more →

Ostrom and O’Regan Granular Enough? (re: Proposals For Budget Reductions) // Sheila Taylor

In their March 7 post, Ostrom and O’Regan called for a granular look at the proposed budget, then made a cost-saving proposal of their own.  I appreciate the considerable work they have done, respect their intentions, and presume many of their suggestions are worth considering (though I suspect that even taken together, they would not fill the financial gap our city faces). I have a problem with their proposal, however, because they misunderstand how the library is funded.

At one time, the city budget included … Read more →

Proposals For Budget Reductions // Kriss Ostrom and Daphne O’Regan

The budget cuts mentioned in City documents rely excessively on cuts to public safety and merely tinker around the edges of other city services and staff reductions at City Hall. Kriss Ostrom and I propose the following cuts to the East Lansing budget. We have both been East Lansing residents for more than thirty years. Daphne served on the East Lansing School Board and on the School Board Finance Committee during several years of intense budget cutting. Kriss was the Head of Circulation in the … Read more →

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