More on serial tax delinquencies // Eliot Singer

Because it sounds like this Dublin Square thing is another hurry-up, no-scrutiny deal, I thought I’d better get the facts out faster than ELi can do a story.

For those who have forgotten or missed earlier episodes: No, not everybody does it. In my many years of perusing records, I am only aware of three would-be developers who use tax delinquencies as a cash flow strategy. One in Lansing, exposed by MLive if I remember correctly, admitted he used not … Read more →

Refinancing the Evergreen Bonds // Eliot Singer

Something else that was mentioned in the ELi story about the Dublin Square project was the DDA wanting to refinance the bonds for the Evergreen properties.

We went round and round about this for years and years. City officials, with DDA approval, did something incredibly stupid issuing those bonds in 2009 to buy properties at 3 times market value when the economy was in collapse and with a developer who should never have been allowed within a million miles of … Read more →

Another Developer with Persistent History of Tax Delinquencies Is Seeking a Major East Lansing Project // Eliot Singer

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 →

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 … 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, … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read more →

Killing the DDA // Eliot Singer

I’m sure the usual suspects do not want to place killing their beloved, functionally obsolete, DDA and BRA at the top of the budget cut list. I don’t know exactly how much can be saved through cuts to planning staff and city attorney, probably on the order of 4 positions and 25% city attorney time (based on recent billing records). Preventing further expenditures on discretionary projects and programs, for example, piggybacking road reconfiguration on the Project Formerly Known as City … Read more →

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