East Lansing Hikes Property Taxes in 2012 Budget

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

There were no last-second budget amendments, arguments or long debates in East Lansing Tuesday night.

East Lansing's City Council unanimously, and quietly, passed its 2012 budget Tuesday.

It's a budget that cuts 7 city positions, none through layoffs, including two in police and fire, and cuts sidewalk repair funds. East Lansing will also increase its property tax rate by 0.7626 mills. But East Lansing city manager Ted Staton says declining property values mean about half of the city's property owners won't see an increase in what they pay.

The city's also using a little more than $500,000 from the its rainy day fund, leaving it with around $2.8 million.

"I think our approach is balanced and protects vital services," said city councilmember Nathan Triplett.

East Lansing originally faced a $3 million deficit, about 10 percent of its $34 million budget. But the city will get $800,000 relief from unexpected revenue sharing funds from the state, even though it will see a decrease of about $1 million in that funding overall. In fact, East Lansing has lost $12 million in revenue sharing funding over the last 10 years alone.

"East Lansing residents will wake up tomorrow and July after we implement [the budget] and not notice a difference," said Staton. "But I don't know how much longer we can do this."

That's because the city has raised its property tax as high as it possibly can without a vote of the people, and if it uses any more money from its rainy day fund, the city's bond rating will take a hit.

"[We] can't raise taxes without a vote of the people, can't use reserves," said Staton. "We're caught between a proverbial rock and a hard place."

That hard place may turn out to mean hard cuts in the years ahead.


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  • by Anonymous on May 19, 2011 at 02:18 PM
    Guess the county don't care that many homes will not be selling.Since home values keep coming down ,keep on area to LOWER your taxes.Fight this if u are smart.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 05:34 AM
    It is so wrong how government controls our Property TAXES.values are going down,many are empty and needing repair.People are going to fall behind on paying bills or choosing to have food.Maybe when people can't pay,the city can take their home and sell it for more than owed.all seems so wrong and should be illegal,Gov at city level & state level have got away with so much for so long they think no one knows the difference and won't do anything.Government needs to get under control and stop.Our friend took out a loan on there home to fix things,home valued at 100,000.paid loan down to 3.000,lost job bank would not work with people.Foreclosed on loan owed and got a 100,000$ home for 3,000 owed on a loan.Sick,Banks and government are so much alike,crooked as can be.
  • by BRUCE SMITH on May 17, 2011 at 09:06 PM
    Just what this little city needs. Like they don't get enough revenue from the University? I don't reside therw, thank god, but I don't feel it's a positive move to raise taxes in this economy. The town is run by the democratic party. It's controlled by the education sector. Most times, you get what you vote for.
    • reply
      by BMoss on May 18, 2011 at 09:07 AM in reply to BRUCE SMITH
      The City needs to live within their means just like the rest of us!
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