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 … 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 proposed development in 2013. “Albert Townhomes 2” has already been approved by the EL Planning … 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 →

re: More Tax Comparisons // Phill Bellfy

In response to Eliot Singer’s most recent post –a small group of activists looked into creating “Spartan City” out of the shallow hull of the city that would formerly be known as East Lansing.  It could be done, but there is one rather large complicating factor: Abbot Road forms the dividing line between two underlying Townships (Lansing Twp. to the west, and Meridian to the east). So, in order to create “Spartan City,” the voters both east and west of Abbot would have to separately vote to separate from “East Lansing” and join their respective Townships.  Then voters in the … Read more →

More Tax Comparisons // Eliot Singer

I am very curious about why certain non-city taxes are so much higher in EL/Ingham County than in TC/Traverse Bay/Grand Traverse. I have analyzed why EL city taxes are so high—the disproportionate cost of policing a college town with much smaller tax base than Ann Arbor, with collateral effect on legacy costs, which are mostly for public safety, and the huge amount of money squandered on building public works, without seeking voter approved debt millages, and pursuing public-private development with snake oil finance. ISD costs might be something to look at through state funding, at least something local legislators might … Read more →

TC v EL Taxes // Eliot Singer

Having recently received my Traverse City 2018 assessment, with 2.1% inflation increase, I have been trying to more fully understand my tax millages in comparison with what I was used to in East Lansing. Both communities have significant aging infrastructure problems. As far as I can tell, public safety and public services in TC are as good or better than in EL. Bottom line is TC local taxes (defined as for a brownfield plan, including ISD but not school district) comes to about 27.8 mils as opposed to about 47.1 mils for EL. (I have excluded voter-approved debt. EL debt … Read more →

Public Purpose Must Be Commensurate with Cost // Eliot Singer

I am trying to push state legislators on development authority reforms, using East Lansing as the poster-child for how to do public-private development wrong. One of the key reforms needs to be requiring all brownfield projects or DDA expenditures provide a detailed breakdown, including financials, of what the public purposes are in relation to tax diversion and other costs, and also requiring a strong procedure for objective assessment. Currently, all government has to do is wave a magic wand and say, there’s a public purpose, without explaining what it is, let alone why it is worth the money. Public purpose, … Read more →

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