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 sidewalks, curb and gutter work, drainage structure adjustments and pavement markings. MDOT has stated that at … 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 corporate model for government, including giving him bonuses for doing his job. I’ll leave it to … 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 be worth $18 million. Local commercial real estate experts estimated it would have sold for ~$15 million. If … 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 City Council meeting last night (5/14), there was a 5-0 vote in favor of placing a  new income tax proposalRead 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 proposed development in 2013. “Albert Townhomes 2” has already been approved by the EL Planning Commission … 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 about computers back in the stone age (c. 1970) was GIGO: Garbage in, Garbage out! For … 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 funding for the library, but those days are gone.  Several years, ago, when city budget problems already … 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 MSU Libraries for more than thirty years and accomplished many staff and program reductions while maintaining … Read more →

Financial Crisis and Meadows Still in Denial // Eliot Singer

I hate to talk about this now, given the immediate flood crisis. I hope most of you are managing. This flood is worse than anything in my 35 years in residence in Lansing/East Lansing, and our backed-up sewer problems were not flood related. I feel compelled to say something after reading the latest on financial crisis in Eli. Avondale Square is not the worst by any means. The building of the new DPW building without a debt millage last time Meadows was mayor is costing about $600,000 per year for 25 years, ultimately mostly from general fund money, though hidden … Read more →

City Financial Crisis: One Last Time, With Feeling // Eliot Singer

I feel a moral obligation to weigh in from afar on East Lansing’s mess, since I was one of the first to call attention to the city’s pending financial crisis and the need for new revenue. I also had carefully analyzed the budget, finding such hidden discrepancies as the DDA not paying fully for downtown maintenance, while it continued to embark on new, discretionary, projects, and huge deficits in self-financing for parking structures. With the help of Vic Loomis, I carefully examined all the city’s brownfield projects, which has allowed me to make several recommendations for reforms so the occasional … Read more →

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