Selling and redeveloping city’s Evergreen properties is not financially necessary // Eliot Singer

Three of the EverGreen properties

With a new Council and an apparent willingness to look beyond the DDA for solutions to the Evergreen properties quagmire, I am going to revive my analysis from several years ago that it is not financially imperative to sell and redevelop the city’s Evergreen properties, which were originally bought with the intent of tearing them down and replacing with a massive parking garage.

Recall that the properties were bought 10 years ago for more than 3 times their assessed market value, at a time … Read more →

The Quest for Answers on the Center City Ground Lease Payments // Alice Dreger

East Lansing’s City Council voted on Tuesday night to clarify the Center City District ground lease deal so the City can finally start getting paid for use of the public land. I explain the details of the deal in a  new report   up today at ELi . 

Readers of Public Response are often interested in the backstories of major stories, so I wanted to make sure you note you have the opportunity to see my correspondence with city officials and the developers in terms of trying … Read more →

The DDA’s Evergreen Avenue Debt: It’s Time to Think Creatively // Alice Dreger

Three of the EverGreen properties

Tomorrow night, Sept. 10, City Council will take up the question of whether to permanently rezone the DDA’s Evergreen Avenue properties (314-344 Evergreen on the east side) to B3. In a report published today at ELi, I explain what that would mean and list what are seen as the pros and cons of this rezoning: 

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/rezone-big-redevelopment-near-park-complicated-question-coming-council

As a lot of Public Response readers know, these properties carry about $5.6 million in debt, a debt for with City taxpayers are ultimately responsible. 

That debt … Read more →

Meadows “just as surprised as everyone” // Eliot Singer

Mayor Mark Meadows wrote on July 24, “I was just as surprised as everyone to see that the developer was advertising the Grand River property as ‘student housing.’ The Grand River housing was approved as market rate housing and was to be advertised as available to anyone.”

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/downtown-businesses-panicking-over-construction-related-downturn

Another wonderful example of an excuse-making professional politician having to choose between admitting he was in the know from the beginning or coming across as a moron.

Ruth Beier knew, she just doesn’t seem 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 →

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 … Read more →

re: Technical Analysis of Non-Recourse Tax-Increment Bonds in Reference to Lot 1 Bond // Mark Ladenson

Just so I understand, is the point of your post to question whether the planned refunding in 2020 can actually be pulled off; and if it can’t, to alert us to the looming “major implications” of the city having to make a balloon payment in 2020 to redeem the December 2017 loan of $25,265,000?

I ask because you make what seems to be a strong case for doubting that the refunding can be pulled off, but, except perhaps for your sentence that includes the … Read more →

Technical Analysis of Non-Recourse Tax-Increment Bonds in Reference to Lot 1 Bond // Eliot Singer

[I know most people, including city officials without CPA qualifications, find finance difficult. Please try to take the time to read through the details, including looking at the linked bond prospectuses. Understanding finance is not only crucial for holding governments accountable for how money is spent—this should be a bipartisan concern—but in your personal financial management. How many of you keep a budget? Do you do your own taxes? Do you manage your own investments and savings?]

Non-recourse Versus Full Faith and Credit Tax … Read more →

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