Results of a new Freedom of Information Act request show that the City of East Lansing withheld key data on the Center City District proposal for over three months. Mayor Mark Meadows tells ELi, "There is no hidden staff agenda or suppression of information involved here.”
City Council held public hearings on the Center City District site plan and tax plan last night, although no current plans were available. Council voted to do it all again in June. Here's what we've learned.
At Monday night's Board of Education meeting both the Board President and the Acting Superintendent acknowledged that many residents still have concerns about the recent passage of the school millage. As the process begins, both stated their commitment to seeking public input.
The Lansing Area Community Trust has awarded ELi a $3600 grant to support our Summer Youth Journalism Program! Applications for the program are now being accepted from people in the 14-22 year age group.
The developers of the Center City District proposal say they are not ready for the public hearings set for City Council tomorrow night. They did, however, show new renderings of their project at their pizza event today, and the City Manager told those present that the public hearings are still on for tomorrow night.
The Avondale Square project happened because City leaders were convinced they should spend taxpayer money on "needed" housing types. The project wasn't supposed to end up costing taxpayers over $5 million.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, ELi has learned that East Lansing’s tax assessor believes the Center City District redevelopment will be worth far less than the developer has assumed, calling into question the financial viability of the project.
City Council is set to take up the controversial Center City District site plan and $55 million TIF plan this Tuesday. The project calls for private development on public land. The developers have announced they will reveal the latest version of the proposal the day before.
With City Council set to make possible decisions on the Center City redevelopment proposal next Tuesday, the City Attorney tells ELi the deal doesn't have to be run past East Lansing voters for approval. ELi examines what we know about the deal and the City Charter, and finds the situation complicated.
With Jill Feldpausch formally stepping into the role, East Lansing has filled the position of Finance Director. Facing big financial challenges, City leaders tell ELi's Jessy Gregg they're thrilled Feldpausch has agreed to be our Chief Financial Officer.
As we come to the end of our third fiscal year, East Lansing now has what we think no other community in America does: a fully-functional, sustainable, nonpartisan, nonprofit, citizen-reported public news service.