East Lansing income tax: what’s next for city after being approved?

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After striking out during last year’s November election, East Lansing is celebrating what city officials are calling “a big win” this time around.

For two years, East Lansing city officials have been trying to convince East Lansing voters to approve an income tax and on Tuesday night, the proposal passed.

City officials say the income tax will generate nearly $5-million annually and will stay on the books for more than a decade.

East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows says now that the income tax is moving forward, it means the city won’t have to pull the plug on some of its biggest staples.

“Having the volunteer effort on the ground throughout this entire campaign really paid off for us,” said Meadows.

Now that East Lansing voters gave the green light to the city’s income tax proposal, Mayor Meadows says it’s a sigh of relief not just because the tax will help dig the city out of its financial crisis, but…

“We won’t need to close Hannah Community Center, we don’t really need to close the Aquatic Center anymore,” Meadows stated.

Which is a splash in the water for East Lansing Parks and Recreation Director Tim McCaffrey, who says this income tax couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’ve identified probably over $14-million worth of needed capital improvement projects to all of our parks and recreation facilities, so the income tax will provide us the opportunity to begin working on some of those improvements,” said McCaffrey.

The tax will also curb more cuts to the police department set to happen next year and Lt. Chad Connelly says now that he doesn’t have to stress about the fate of the department, his officers can focus on what they do best which is providing public safety.

“It’s a burden off every body’s shoulders knowing that the officers we have will stay in place and that we will be able to continue to do the things that we’re currently doing and look forward to hopefully being able to do more,” Lt. Connelly stated.

But Mayor Meadows says the approval of the income tax doesn’t mean some of the smaller cuts the city was contemplating next year won’t happen.

“Those small cuts would be more in the nature of looking for a different contract for a specific thing that we might use within the city so that we can save some money that way,” said Meadows.

As mentioned beforehand, the income tax will stay in effect for twelve years.

Meadows says when those twelve years are up, the public will decide whether they want to continue the tax or discontinue it all together.

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