EAST LANSING, Mich. — The City of East Lansing announced today the release of results of a phone survey commissioned in an effort to gather additional research and community feedback on City services and potential future ballot proposals that would produce new revenue for the City if passed by voters.
A total of 300 registered East Lansing voters were contacted at random to participate in the 15-minute survey, which was conducted by Lansing-based research firm EPIC • MRA. The survey results point toward potential support for new revenue options that could improve the City’s future financial sustainability.
The survey results also indicate concern about whether the City of East Lansing is headed in the right direction. In response to questions regarding City performance, 42 percent of participants said the City is on the wrong track, 31 percent said the City is headed in the right direction and 27 percent were undecided or didn’t answer the question. Additionally, when asked to rate the East Lansing City Council and City administration’s performance in managing the City’s finances, 32 percent of participants said only fair, 24 percent said poor, 31 percent said pretty good and 4 percent said excellent.
“We need to a better job of providing information to citizens on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of our decision-making,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. “It’s important for residents to have a full, factual understanding of the challenges we are facing as we work toward identifying potential solutions, but, particularly now, that also means we must communicate about difficult things that can, at times, put the City’s finances in a less than positive light.”
On the positive side, the survey results do show that 81 percent of participants believe the City is providing either excellent or pretty good basic services to residents and 58 percent believe it’s important to maintain existing city services and programs, while also maintaining commitments to retired City employees. Furthermore, the survey shows that the majority of participants would vote yes if an income tax proposal was placed on the ballot again and they would be more likely to vote yes on a tax increase if the funds were used for dedicated purposes. If the income tax was limited to a period of no longer than 12 years (when it would expire unless reauthorized by voters), 71 percent of voters said they would vote yes. The survey did indicate less support for a permanent property tax increase (with 25 percent saying they would vote yes) and more support for an income tax, which would be shared across a larger tax base, including non-residents working in the community, and would put into effect the property tax cut approved by voters last November, which would reduce property taxes by 4.6 mills.
“This survey, along with the feedback gathered at the community meetings on cuts and revenue sources held over the last couple months, have provided us with important information that we will be taking into consideration as we deliberate and make a decision on next steps,” said Mayor Meadows. “I deeply appreciate the voters who took the time to participate in this survey and the community meetings.”
Community members can view the complete results of the survey here: https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/DocumentCenter/View/7207.