Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
When placing a Simple Recycling bag at the curb, the clearance rule does not apply. The bags can be placed right next to your new recycling cart. Please refrain from placing the bags on top of the recycling cart.
*It should be noted that some condominium and neighborhood associations may have additional regulations.
In the event of overflow items, the City does offer a year-round drop-off recycling site at 1800 E. State Road.
It's important to note that if a qualifying resident requested a smaller cart in fall 2015 and decide at a later date that the larger cart size is needed, the 96-gallon cart will cost the resident $50.
There are a number of bike parking option in the downtown.
Those planning to vote absentee must return their absentee voter ballot by hand or mail to the East Lansing City Clerk's Office at 410 Abbot Road by 8 p.m. on election day. Absentee voters can check the status of their absentee voter ballot online.
Federal, State, Local and tribal governmentsChurch and civil organizationsFarmers and custom harvestersApiarian IndustriesFor-hire and private companies
A service brake systemA parking brake systemAn emergency brake system
Interstate transportation: Surge brakes are allowed on any trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 12,000 lbs. or less, when its GVWR does not exceed 1.75 times the GVWR of the towing vehicle; or any trailer with a GVWR of more than 12,000 lbs. but less than 20,001 lbs. when its GVWR does not exceed 1.25 times the GVWR of the towing vehicle. See section 393.48 of the FMCSR.Intrastate transportation: Surge brakes are allowed on any trailer when the combination has a GVWR of not more than 26,000 lbs. AND the actual Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or GVWR of the trailer is 15,000 lbs. or less. Vehicles of any size that are transporting hazardous materials in an amount that requires placarding or vehicles that are designed to transport more than 8 passengers, including the driver, are prohibited from being equipped with surge brakes in intrastate commerce.
Michigan law adds age, height, weight and marital status protections. Chapter 22 of the City Code further prohibits discrimination based on age, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identify or expression, student status, legal source of income or the use of adaptive devices or aids.
Discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment which means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal of physical conduct or communication of sexual nature.
The term major life activity may include:
The cost for a membership for an East Lansing resident is $20 and the cost for a non-resident is $30.
If you have additional questions, contact the Housing & University Relations Administrator, Annette Irwin, at (517) 319-6801 or by email.
As the mitigation property for the Bailey Community Center conversion, the property would be removed from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s list of redevelopment-ready sites in East Lansing and would be designated as a public park. Currently the property is being used as a community space, but is not designated as a public park.
A formal conversion request was submitted to the MDNR in September for consideration and a public hearing was held on Oct. 20. Approval of the project agreement is expected by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016, after which, the public space will be formally dedicated as a park.
For more information, view the Request for Partial Conversion Support Materials.
CAHP will be moving forward with a submission of a Low Income Housing Tax Credit application to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority by Oct. 1.
UPDATE (6/3/15): At its June 2, 2015 meeting, East Lansing City Council heard a presentation from Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) regarding a proposed plan for the Bailey Community Center. View presentation. The proposal aligns with the results of the City's public engagement process and has received positive feedback from the community, specifically members of the Bailey neighborhood. With this in mind, Council voted to pursue a predevelopment agreement with CAHP. Staff will be working with CAHP as expeditiously as possible to meet all necessary deadlines so that CAHP can apply for state funding, which will make the project feasible. The proposed project contains one- and two-bedroom senior (55+) apartments, space for a private daycare provider, office space for CAHP, additional commercial space and community spaces (including the current gym), which will be open to the public.
UPDATE (5/27/15): City staff provided reports on the two Bailey community input meetings (Report 1 & Report 2) at the May 26 East Lansing City Council work session. Since the community input meetings, Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) has come forward with a proposed project for the reuse of the Bailey Community Center, which they would like to discuss with the City. CAHP will be attending the June 2 regular City Council meeting to present the project proposal during a special presentation. The public are welcome to attend or watch online at www.cityofeastlansing.com/meetings. After the presentation, Council will discuss options for moving forward and what process will be taken in regards to the Bailey Community Center. Council has requested that staff provide a list of options for next steps and Council will determine how they want to continue during the June 2 meeting.
UPDATE (5/6/15): The City of East Lansing hosted two public meetings seeking resident feedback about the future use of the Bailey Community Center property. The meetings were held on April 27, 2015 and May 4, 2015 at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. View a report from session one, held on April 27. The report from session two will be posted online by the end of May.
A topic was also posted to e-Town Hall asking residents what they would like to see done with the Bailey Community Center. The topic was open from February 10, 2015 to March 20, 2015. View a response summary from that e-Town Hall topic.
UPDATE (4/15/15): Community members are invited to participate in two community input meetings regarding the future use of the Bailey Community Center on Monday, April 27 and Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road. Learn more.
UPDATE (3/25/15): At its March 24 meeting, East Lansing City Council agreed with City staff's recommendation to proceed with a public facilitation process to help in determining the future use of the Bailey Community Center. City staff will present a more detailed description and tentative timeline for the public facilitation process at City Council's work session on April 14. Due to the fact that the entire site (building and park) are included in the City's parks master plan, staff is also researching the possibility of splitting the lot in order to separate the building from the park land. The City would like to reassure the neighborhood/community that the park will remain a community park regardless of what is decided for the building. More details will be provided following the April 14 work session.
ORIGINAL POST (1/27/15): Following several months of discussion, the difficult decision was made at East Lansing City Council’s Jan. 20 meeting to move forward with City staff’s recommendation to close the early age childcare program, currently the primary user of the Bailey Community Center. The program and building are slated to close September 4, 2015. The decision does not impact the Bailey Park, which will remain a community park.
This was not a decision City Council took lightly. Unfortunately, in challenging budget times, difficult decisions must be made in order to maintain other programs and services.
Building CostsThe Bailey Community Center was built in the early 1900’s and, while significant improvements have been made over the years, there were still many things that needed to be addressed. When discussions about the childcare program began, Council requested that a facility analysis be conducted in order to know what improvements were necessary. This analysis determined that there was almost $500,000 worth of building repairs that needed to be made in the immediate future to keep it operational as a community center. Of those repairs, the City has already invested $26,800 and would need to invest at least $209,600 more to only partially operate the building past June 30, 2015. To operate the entire building, the City would need to incur the remainder of that $500,000 in repairs and would face additional costs down the road. Childcare CostsAt the time the decision was made to discontinue the childcare program, only 13 of the 40 childcare enrollees were East Lansing residents. The current FY15 budget shortfall is estimated to be $150,000+/- for the childcare program alone (excludes building improvement costs); with 40 children currently enrolled that means City taxpayers are subsidizing $3,750 per child over one year. While the City understands that some of the drop in enrollment can be attributed to discussions of closing the building, when you look back prior to the discussions, there was still a significant shortfall. The operating budget deficit in FY14 was $100,852 with average enrollment of 66; meaning taxpayers were subsidizing $1,528 per child.
The increase in operating costs was in part attributed to the hiring of more qualified staff members in order to better serve the children in the program and meet state licensing requirements. In order to offset the increased operating costs, the City had anticipated a multi-year approach for increasing tuition rates. Tuition rates were increased by 8% for FY15; however, in order to make the program financially feasible, rates would have needed to be increased significantly more. City officials viewed the multi-year approach of raising tuition as a more customer-friendly option as opposed to raising tuition rates significantly all at once.
While the decision was originally to close the program on June 30, 2015, City Council voted to extend the closure date to September 4, 2015 at its Jan. 27 work session.
Parent Group ProposalWhile the Bailey parent group provided a well thought-out proposal for transferring the childcare program to a parent-run nonprofit, the City would have continued to be faced with financial challenges and risks. The City would still have needed to address the costs associated with the building and its necessary improvements, while transferring all control of the childcare program to a non-established nonprofit. Additionally, while the parent group proposed a repayment structure for the building repairs, it was not all-inclusive for the improvements that needed to be made. There were just too many uncertainties for staff to recommend their proposal to Council.
Moving ForwardEast Lansing City Council has approved a resolution authorizing staff to undergo a public input process, similar to Strategic Doing, in order to help determine the future of the building.
The City understands the concerns from residents and hopes to complete this process as quickly as possible. The City does not want a vacant building in the Bailey Neighborhood anymore than the residents. While the building is closed, the City will keep the exterior maintained to prevent blight - windows will not be boarded, landscaping will be maintained and any vandalism quickly repaired. The building will also be partially lit and heated and a broken window panel will be fixed in order to help keep the building maintained.
The City also has no plans or intentions of developing student housing on this site. Neighbors can look to the example of the Avondale Square neighborhood revitalization project, in which the vision of the project was upheld, even in tough financial times. The City continues to sell high-quality, owner-occupied homes in that area of the Bailey Neighborhood.
The hope is that the community input process will result in a plan for the site that the community will support.
Before getting started with an explanation of the review process, it’s important to note that the steps outlined below only apply to new commercial development. They don’t apply to home additions/renovations or the renovation of a commercial space.
When City staff receives initial site plan applications from developers/property owners for a project, they will work with the applicant to ensure that the project meets all of the City’s requirements. Once a site plan meets all City requirements it goes through a review process and, in most cases, is approved. If all City requirements are met, City Council has no legal basis to deny a site plan approval.
For simple projects, the steps (approximately 3-6 months) typically include the following:
1.) An application for a project site plan is submitted to the City.
2.) City staff reviews the site plan.
3.) The Planning Commission reviews, discusses and holds a public hearing on the site plan.
4.) The Planning Commission provides a recommendation to the East Lansing City Council.
5.) East Lansing City Council reviews and discusses the site plan.
6.) East Lansing City Council makes a final determination.
For more complex projects, the steps (approximately 6-12 months) typically include the following:
1.) The applicant meets with City staff to discuss the general project concept. Staff provides guidance on the application process and any potential issues. The developer is also encouraged to meet with the impacted neighborhood association(s) prior to application.
2.) An application for a project site plan is submitted to the City. If required, a special use permit is also submitted. For example, special use permits are required in the zoning district B-2 retail sales for the following: drive-in facilities/restaurants, recreation uses, motor vehicle sales, auto service centers, restaurants serving alcohol, apartments, liquor stores and more.
3.) City staff reviews the application materials.
4.) City advisory boards and commissions review, discuss and make recommendations. Most commonly, the boards and commissions that review proposed projects include the Transportation Commission, the Downtown Development Authority and, in some cases, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic District Commission and others.
5.) The Planning Commission reviews, discusses and holds public hearing on the site plan and special use permit.
6.) The Planning Commission provides a recommendation to the East Lansing City Council.
7.) East Lansing City Council reviews, discusses and holds a public hearing on the site plan and special use permit.
8.) East Lansing City Council makes a final determination. In the case of special use permits, Council may suggest additional conditions or amend conditions that were recommended by the Planning Commission.
In the case of a public-private partnership, the review process can require additional steps and time to ensure logistic and financial feasibility. The City often has a larger stake in projects that are part of a public-private partnership and has a vested interest in the project’s success.
The City values public input related to development projects and the review process offers multiple opportunities for community members to weigh in on proposed projects. Regardless of whether there is a public hearing or not, community members can share feedback on proposed development projects at any public meeting that is held. Community members can view the Public Participation Plan (PDF) on the City’s website for more information on how to get involved.
A more detailed graphic of the City of East Lansing’s Development Review Process can be found here: http://cityofeastlansing.com/DocumentCenter/View/1613.
The WRRP Tertiary Filtration, Ultraviolet Disinfection and Effluent Discharge Project (Phase I of the overall comprehensive WRRP plan), was included in the previous 2012 SRF Project Plan. Phase I is currently under construction and is being funded through the SRF Program for 20 years at 2.5% interest.
The cost of the current phase of the WRRP project is $16.5 million and the estimated cost of the additional phases of the WRRP improvements included in the 2015 SRF Project Plan is approximately $30 million. The City of East Lansing’s share of the improvements to the WRRP is approximately 27 percent and MSU and Meridian Township will share the remaining 73 percent.
View a memo, which outlines the breakdown of costs included in the 2015 SRF Project Plan.
UPDATE (6/3/15): East Lansing City Council approved two contracts at its June 2, 2015 meeting for improvements in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood - one with Able Concrete for $90,000 for ADA sidewalk ramps and one with C.D. Hughes for $370,000 for milling and paving 2.1 miles of streets. View a map that shows the streets where improvements will be made. The construction will be completed by the end of this summer. These upgrades will provide a better driving surface for the next five to seven years.
UPDATE (5/27/15): At the May 26, 2015 East Lansing City Council work session, East Lansing Department of Public Works Director Scott House presented options for the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood streets. Council has concurred that the $600,000 previously budgeted for the neighborhood should be used to improve the quality of the roads in Chesterfield Hills, while exploring long-term options for community infrastructure. View the Chesterfield Hills agenda attachment, which summarizes the options presented. Staff recommended and Council concurred with option 3. This option involves milling and paving 2.1 miles of streets, with accompanying ADA improvements, in the neighborhood. Essentially, this will include all streets bounded by Michigan, Harrison, Grand River and Cowley (including Cowley). At the June 2 East Lansing City Council meeting, the business agenda will include construction contracts for approval, which would allow work to move forward this construction season.
ORIGINAL POST (5/19/15): The City of East Lansing has been planning to do a multi-million dollar, multi-year infrastructure improvement project in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood for several years. This project would include a complete reconstruction of all infrastructure in the neighborhood, including roads, sidewalks, curbs, sewer and water.
Unfortunately, with the failure of Proposal 1 and the scope of the improvements, the full-scale reconstruction project is expected to be delayed. With that being said, East Lansing City Councilmembers and City staff members understand and agree that there is a need for improvements within the neighborhood. After the failure of Proposal 1, East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett proposed that the City look at more immediate options for the neighborhood and all members of the City Council concurred. Staff will be presenting options to Council during its May 26 work session for further consideration and direction. Staff plans to recommend some road improvements in the neighborhood yet this construction season.
It is important to note that current discussions regarding brownfield plans will have no impact on this project. As with all brownfield plans, the developer would be reimbursed for qualifying expenses by new revenue generated from the project. Existing tax revenue would not be impacted and would continue to go to collecting agencies, as well as all the new taxes generated for debt millages of the City of East Lansing and East Lansing Public Schools. Moreover, adding additional rate payers to the City’s utility system helps to offset operating costs amongst all system users.
It’s also important to note that the City is currently in the process of executing a comprehensive $2.6 million sewer system and Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) asset management project funded with a $2 million Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant and $600,000 in matching dollars from the City’s sewer fund. One of the key components of the grant is an asset management program that will identify critical areas for investment and repair in order to minimize the risk of failure of critical components of the City’s sewer system and WWTP. The most critical areas identified may or may not be located within the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood. If areas are discovered to be more critical outside of the neighborhood, they would need to be addressed first. This would be the case regardless of whether Proposal 1 had passed and the City had the resources to complete the Chesterfield Hills project now.
UPDATE (6/3/15): At its June 2, 2015 meeting, East Lansing City Council approved an operating agreement with MSU's Department of Art, Art History and Design (AAHD). AAHD will take over the operation of (SCENE) Metrospace for a five-year trial period. View the approved operating agreement.
UPDATE (5/27/15): Approval of the Operating Agreement with MSU's Department of Art, Art History and Design for the future operation of (SCENE) Metrospace is scheduled to be on East Lansing City Council's business agenda during its June 2, 2015 meeting.
UPDATE (4/14/15): At its April 14, 2015 work session, East Lansing City Council reviewed a Draft Operating Agreement with MSU's Department of Art, Art History and Design regarding the operation of (SCENE) Metrospace. Learn more. Council will be discussing a final lease agreement on April 28 and is expected to take action on May 6.
BACKGROUNDA proposed partnership between the City of East Lansing and MSU's Department of Art, Art History and Design (AAHD) could help ensure that (SCENE) Metrospace continues to be an important part of the community's vibrant arts & cultural scene.
The City's continued investment in (SCENE) is a testament to an ongoing commitment to bring the moniker "City of the Arts" to life, while also tackling pressing budget challenges in a responsible way. Under the proposed partnership, the City would continue to support (SCENE) through annual utility payments of approximately $4,000 and by continuing to forgo rental revenue in the City-owned space. Under the proposed partnership, AAHD would take over full operation of the space, including all administrative costs. Historically, the City has subsidized (SCENE) to the tune of approximately $19,000. The proposed partnership with AAHD would save the City approximately $15,000 per year.
(SCENE), while viewed as extremely successful from a placemaking standpoint, has never been in a position to become financially self-sustaining. When the space first opened, the idea was that one day revenue would offset the costs of running the space. Unfortunately, the business model never made it possible for that to occur and, while revenue has remained flat, expenses have increased. This is not a reflection of the work of staff members and volunteers who have been affiliated with the space over the years – everyone involved has had a hard work ethic and a true passion for the arts.
AAHD has an interest in running an off-campus public art gallery in downtown East Lansing and is in a position, both financially and strategically, to run (SCENE) efficiently. MSU staff members are proposing to host regular art exhibitions and keep the gallery open to the public 20 hours per week (the gallery is currently open 15 hours per week). AAHD also plans to host student performances in the space, including music, theater, dance, poetry slams and more. From an art standpoint, AAHD is proposing as many as eight exhibitions over a 12-month cycle, with exhibitions featuring the work of undergraduate students, visiting artists, AAHD alumni and state of Michigan artists, as well as traveling exhibitions from other universities. Contrary to rumors, the gallery would be open year-round, including summers.
City staff view this as another great opportunity to collaborate with MSU (as aligned with the City’s Strategic Priorities), while also cutting costs and keeping (SCENE) open as a community public art space in the downtown.
Upon completion of the improvements, there will be a singular entry and exit point for visitors to the building. Visitors will enter and exit at the southwest corner (corner of Abbot Road and Linden Street) of the building and will pass through a metal detector located just inside the doorway. The metal detector will be staffed by a security guard, who will be checking briefcases, bags and purses as people enter. All other doors will be alarmed and will serve only as emergency exits.
To help visitors adapt to the building’s new, singular entry/exit point, wayfinding signs will be installed outside and inside the building. Improvements will also be made to disability parking and access to the building.
Security improvements to the East Lansing City Hall building have been discussed for more than a decade. The building is one of only a few in Michigan to house a court and not have a metal detector. The goal of this project is to create a safer environment for both employees and community members visiting the building.
More information will be released as it becomes available.
The City previously communicated that the proposed land sale ballot item, if approved, would change the City's 3/5 majority voter requirement to a simple majority for park land. Due to the fact that there has been no attempt to sell park land since the Home Rule City Act was amended in 1966, City officials were unaware that the East Lansing charter was automatically amended to a simple majority vote at that time.
It should be noted that there are no current or foreseeable discussions regarding the sale of park property (The only possible exclusion would be the Bailey Community Center building, which sits on park land. In this case, Council would only consider sale of the building. The actual park would remain a park in the event the building was sold.). Any rumors to the contrary are false. East Lansing City Councilmembers have concurred that park property is a highly valued asset of the City and felt that no City Council would seek authorization to sell it nor expect voter approval if a Council did take such an action.
That being said, the Home Rule City Act requires that the sale of any land designated as a “required park under an official master plan,” which in East Lansing’s case would be the City’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Greenways Plan, must go to a vote of the people, no matter the value. As stated in the clarification above, the sale of park land currently requires a simple majority vote. Therefore, the proposed charter amendment, whether approved or not approved, will have no new impact on park land.
The Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Greenways Plan is reviewed every five years, involving several public meetings of the Parks & Recreation Commission, the Planning Commission and the East Lansing City Council. During these review periods, park assets could be added or removed from the plan. As long as memory serves, the City has only added parks and has never removed parks from the plan.
Some parks were donated to the City, specifically to be used as park land. In the unlikely event that the City would try to remove these parks from the plan, ownership would revert back to the former owners or heirs. Likewise, some park land/amenities were purchased with grant funds – in accepting these grant funds, the City committed to maintaining these parks for public recreation into perpetuity. Parks and recreational facilities that have received grant funding include: Harrison Meadows Park, the East Lansing Soccer Complex, the East Lansing Softball Complex, Abbey Park, White Park, the Northern Tier Trail, Hawk Nest Park, Patriarche Park and Henry Fine Park.
The proposed charter amendment, if approved, would only have an impact on the voter requirement for City-owned parcels that are not designated as a park in the City’s master plan. These parcels include City buildings, lift stations, floodplain properties, parking lots and a small amount of green space (example: the corner of Abbot Road and Albert Avenue). These parcels are treated as real property, which currently requires a vote of the people if the value of the land is over $4 per capita. If the proposed charter amendment passes, the value of real property requiring a vote would be $4 per capita (2015 value), adjusted annually according to Consumer Price Index; and would require a simple majority as opposed to the current 3/5 voter approval requirement for City-owned property (again, this excludes park land). Because City property is not taxed, values for most of these properties are unknown. Property assessment evaluations would have to be done prior to selling the land or placing a sale of real property on a ballot.
To sell the building, East Lansing City Council would have to place a property sale question on an election ballot and it would need to be approved by voters.
Currently, the City is still planning to undergo a public input process regarding the future of the building. Residents wishing to weigh in can do so at www.cityofeastlansing.com/eTownHall. More details on the public input process are to follow.
“Shall Section 4.8 of the East Lansing Charter be amended to change the requirement for voter approval to sell certain real property from a three fifths (3/5) majority vote of the electors to a simple majority vote of the electors and add an annual inflation adjustment, tied to the consumer price index, to the current four dollar ($4) per capita dollar limitation to sell real property?” Yes or No
When East Lansing’s charter was drafted, it was modeled after the Home Rule City Act, which included nearly identical provisions. The Home Rule City Act was later amended to remove the 3/5 voter restriction and the per capita value restriction on the sale of property.
East Lansing remains one of the more restrictive cities with regard to sale of publicly-owned property in Michigan. When looking at 11 other Michigan cities (Ann Arbor, Dearborn Heights, Novi, Portage, Kalamazoo, Alma, Lowell, Mt. Pleasant, Vassar, Midland and Lansing), Midland was the only other city requiring a 3/5 majority vote and that requirement only applies to property of a value in excess of $18 per capita, which has been adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index.
The last four land sales on City of East Lansing election ballots have had a majority of votes, but did not pass because of the 3/5 charter requirement. View the City of East Lansing's property sale vote history, dating back to 2000. These failed land sales have had financial implications for the City of East Lansing, including the recent need to complete almost $2 million in repairs to the University Place parking ramp. The University Place parking ramp repairs, in addition to the recent Park District failed land sale, have prompted the discussions about a change to the charter requirement.
Some residents have had questions/concerns regarding how this proposed charter amendment would impact park land. The proposed charter amendment will have no new impact on park land, whether approved or not approved, due to the fact that the voter requirement for the sale of park land was already amended to a simple majority when the Home Rule City Act was changed in 1966. A separate topic has been posted with more information: Proposed Charter Amendment - Park Land Impact.
At this point in the process City Council is considering the proposed site plans and special use permits for these projects, which must meet certain standards as specified in the City's zoning code. By law, the City must process applications in a timely manner and must have a specific reason, which is stated in the City Code, in order to deny a site plan or special use permit. Any potential incentive package for either project would come at a later date and would have to go through additional review by the Downtown Development Authority, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the City Council. The City is not contemplating taking on any debt for this project and the developer's representatives have not requested that the City issue debt.
TIF is an incentive tool used by cities all over the country to assist with certain eligible costs associated with a redevelopment project. The cost of redevelopment is often significantly more than building a brand new development on a previously undeveloped site. TIFs address this issue by allowing redevelopments to occur that would otherwise be too costly. TIF provides the developer with reimbursement for specific eligible items by using the new tax dollars that the project creates.
Here is an example: A building is torn down that was providing $10,000 a year to taxing entities (City, County, School District, CATA, etc.). That $10,000 would continue to be provided to those entities even after a new building was built. However, the new building would likely have a higher taxable value that may perhaps result in $30,000 a year paid to the taxing entities. Through a TIF plan, the additional $20,000 could be used to pay for specific and previously agreed upon eligible expenses of the project, up to a certain amount or for a specific amount of time. After all of the eligible expenses have been reimbursed or the time has expired, the taxing entities would then get the full $30,000.
The most commonly used TIF in East Lansing is a brownfield. The brownfield redevelopment program has allowed developers to recoup some of their development costs, such as demolition of older buildings and cleanup of contaminated soils, but it has also allowed the City to obtain very important utility infrastructure improvements. These can be looked at as no interest loans to the City for infrastructure work. In many cases, redevelopment needs to occur on sites that have very old infrastructure (streets, sewer, water, etc.). Through a TIF plan, the developer of the project then makes those improvements at their cost and is reimbursed for those public improvements by the additional tax dollars that their project creates. For example, the St. Anne Lofts and Residences buildings in downtown East Lansing both had brownfield plans and included new water and sewer infrastructure that benefits not only those properties, but adjoining properties as well.
Additionally, a recent facility analysis was conducted on the Bailey Community Center building. This analysis determined numerous items would need to be addressed in order for the building to be functional for the purpose of operating as a childcare center. The analysis by the Mayotte Group Architects states that nearly $500,000 worth of repairs needs to be addressed in the immediate future.
The City understands the importance of high quality childcare and believes the children deserve the best service available; however, several financial and facility concerns have been brought to the table that need to be addressed. Staff is currently recommending that operations be reduced this December and that all operations be brought to an end by summer 2015. Staff will continue to consult with Council before taking any final action.
UPDATE (1/21/15): At its January 20, 2015 meeting, the East Lansing City Council approved a resolution authorizing staff to undergo a Strategic Doing process in order to determine the best uses for the Bailey Community Center building. Due to financial concerns, Council has provided staff with the direction to move forward with staff's recommendation of closing the childcare program and building on June 30, 2015. The Strategic Doing process will result in the formation of a committee made up of City and community stakeholders who will collaborate to come up with an agreed-upon plan for the Bailey Community Center.
The underground garage, being nearly 30 years old, now needs roughly $2.5 million in repairs. City Council has approved a tax increment financing (TIF) plan that would allow property taxes from that particular site to be used to pay for the repairs of the garage. This allows the garage repairs to be made and the costs associated with the repairs be attributed to the businesses that most benefit from the garage.
The question of why doesn't the City just sell the garage to the Marriott has also been posed. The City had the authorization for sale of the property on election ballots in 2006 and 2008 and the parking garage, specifically, was on the ballot in 2008. In all cases, more than 57 percent of voters said “yes” to the authorization of sale, but the City needed 60 percent approval to sell the property. Had the City been authorized to sell the parking garage after those votes, the City may have sold the property and if so, would not have the responsibility to repair the garage at this current time.
Additionally, some have asked why the City doesn’t put a City-wide millage in place to pay for the repairs. City officials feel a TIF plan specific to that site is more equitable than asking all residents in the city to pay for repairs for one garage. Also, the City is continuing to face challenges with infrastructure and parks maintenance, and it is probable that the City might need to add a millage for infrastructure or parks in the future.
The facilitator has completed his preliminary report and is now gathering feedback from participants. After feedback has been gathered, staff will then put together a packet for the City Council. This will include the report as it was written by the consultant, all of the members’ comments and recommendations and a staff recommendation. Staff anticipates that City Council will discuss the recommendations at several public meetings prior to providing staff with direction.
Fresh Thyme will open in the former location of Goodrich’s Shoprite. Unfortunately, Goodrich’s closed when they were unable to negotiate a lease renewal with the property owner. Contrary to rumors, the City was not part of the lease negotiations.
The EPA estimates that 85 percent of the clothing, textiles and household materials that could be reused or recycled end up in a landfill. The City believes the Simple Recycling program can start to capture that 85 percent by making recycling and reuse free and easy for residents. While residents are still welcome and encouraged to make charitable donations, it is important to note that Simple Recycling will take all items; even items in poor condition such as clothing with holes, old rags and more.
If your schedule permits, you may want to wait and clear your sidewalk after City plows have passed through your street. If it is a significant snowfall, the snowplows will probably be back. Streets are typically opened with one pass through, so that streets can be made passable for drivers as soon as possible. Snowplows may return to open the street curb-to-curb. This is done to clear areas for on-street parking, where it is permitted, and to allow melting snow to drain into catch basins. We regret that you may find some of this snow on your recently shoveled sidewalk and you have to shovel it again.