Fast Track or Prudent Pace?

Oct 4, 2011

The Lansing city council is facing November deadlines to act on a pair of high dollar agreements.   But at least one council member complains they are not getting all the information they need about the deals.  

The Lansing city council scheduled time last night to discuss a proposed tax deal involving the capital city’s airport and a land swap deal with a local college. But both discussions were cut short because of a lack of information.  

Mayor Virg Bernero says his office will get paperwork to the city council in the next day or so.  But the mayor says it’s important for the council to meet fast approaching deadlines to make these deals a reality. 

“We have to move quickly and we have to accommodate their needs…and not ask them to slow down to accommodate the bureaucratic process," says Bernero.  

Councilman Brian Jeffries says he’s concerned the deals are being ‘fast-tracked’ in a way that will give the council little time to get its questions answered before having to vote.

“All of this stuff seems to be fast-tracked with the specific agenda that we’re going to do so quickly that you really can’t ask the questions," says Jeffries. 

Davenport University wants to swap its current Lansing campus for the old Oliver Towers apartment building.  University officials want to build a new campus on the site.  Davenport officials would like to get the deal done in time to begin demolition work in November.  But Lansing Community College officials say they were not given a chance to bid on the property that abuts their campus. 

The airport tax deal between the city of Lansing and DeWitt Township would lay the groundwork for the airport to be considered for a 'Next Michigan' zone.   The designation could help bring new business investment to the airport.   But, the deal must be approved by November if the proposal would be able to be considered by Michigan Strategic Fund.