Ingham County reluctant, but Red Cedar developer presses on
October 15, 2016
No Secret Lansing Deals Supports Proposed Lansing City Council Bidders Ordinance
December 2, 2016
Lansing citizens, business owners, and organizations who make up the No Secret Lansing Deals movement are asking Lansing City Council leaders to approve a law designed to improve the way the city does its economic development business.
The Bidders Ordinance, written by Lansing City Councilwoman Jody Washington, would require the city to release all details of proposed RFPs that guide decision making associated with development deals in Lansing.
The ordinance, opposed by Mayor Virg Bernero, would simply require developers to publicly disclose the distribution, opening and awarding of bids. Failure to do so could, under the ordinance, result in revocation of incentives, such as tax breaks, or other penalties.
Council members decided last Monday night to table it until next week to potentially make it better, adding an amendment that encourages surrounding municipalities to adopt similar language. The City Council is expected to meet on the law in committee on December 8.
“We want to ensure that our leaders simply play by the rules as outlined by law,” said Jen Eyer, spokeswoman for No Secret Lansing Deals. “There have been far too many examples in the region where the pay-to-play mentality has ruled the day, and citizens are demanding that practice end. Taxpayers in Lansing deserve better from their leaders.”
No Secret Lansing Deals hopes to ensure that insider-directed, no-bid projects like the Red Cedar Renaissance plan, Skyvue, and other no-bid plans that favor only certain developers are a thing of the past, and that the city of Lansing focuses on ensuring that the playing field is leveled.
“The time to be transparent in new business deals that play with our tax dollars is now,” Eyer said. “The city of Lansing needs to stop its sweetheart deals and pay to play nonsense. We want our leaders to focus on honesty and transparency, and certainly working to ensure taxpayers are not on the hook when developers say they are focused on growth, but only interested in lining their pockets at citizen expense.”