Bird Scooter Blocking Sidewalk: Open Letter to Eldon Evans, East Lansing Pace Director and County Dispatch // Patrick Levine Rose

Bird Scooter, East Lansing

Dear City of East Lansing Pace Director Eldon Evans and City Manager George Lahanas
(cc: East Lansing Police Cadet M. Moore) (Open Letter on Public Response):

There is a Bird scooter blocking the sidewalk (to prevent a bike or wheel chair from being able to make safe passage down the street).

The street is a high traffic area at the corner of Abbot Rd and Whitehills Dr where many school children walk home. See picture. Please ask a Pace … Read more →

Property Taxes Still Not Paid for Dublin Square // Eliot Singer

Dublin Square building - East Lansing

According to City of East Lansing Assessment and Tax information, 327 Abbott Road, LLC, has yet to pay its summer 2018 real property taxes of $41,779.30, now plus interest, since August 31. This is the real property for Dublin Square.

Authentic Properties, LLC, owes $11,010.80 in summer 2018 personal property taxes, plus interest.

I have not checked whether past taxes referred to Ingham County have been paid, but the point is moot.

It is a violation of the city charter … Read more →

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 →

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 … Read more →

Influence peddling and tax vote // Eliot Singer

Even after years of investigative reporting on East Lansing, I am amused by the report in ELi about big contributors to the yes campaign with reasons to influence city hall, including what is now hotter than development tax giveaways, peddling dope. (I’ve favored legalization since my hippie days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big players trying to get in to a profitable industry by greasing the skids. )

Normally business interests don’t like taxes, witness Chamber sayin no, but this is the … Read more →

Consumption taxes vs Income taxes… // Dave Finet

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!

http://www.howmoneywalks.com/consumption-tax-vs-income-tax-why-more-states-are-opting-to-collect-consumption-taxes-only/

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 →

Smart Development, Cool City, No Income Tax // Matt Mitroka

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 →

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 … Read more →

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