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Monday, April 21,2014

Kids in the Hall

Lansing City Council approves tax incentives for GM, Montgomery Drain petition

by Andy Balaskovitz

Monday, April 21 — The Lansing City Council tonight unanimously approved a pair of tax incentives for General Motors Co., as well as gave Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann unanimous support for moving forward on the Red Cedar Renaissance project.


The Council first approved a 12-year industrial facilities exemption certificate as part of the company’s plan to expand its Grand River Assembly Plant just south of downtown. It also approved a 25-year personal property tax exemption. GM expects to generate more than $25 million worth of new property at the site within five years, according to a resolution on file with the City Clerk’s Office.


At-Large Councilman Derrick Quinney introduced the resolutions with enthusiasm.


“Manufacturing is on the rebound here in mid-Michigan and in our city,” he said. “To have GM come back to our community is something that is very special.”


But the incentive package wasn’t special for everyone. Westside resident Bradley Vauter criticized the company for asking for tax incentives amid over several quarters of revenue gains and scrutiny from Congress over key ignition recalls.


“I think it’s sort of like a rich citizen saying, ‘I don’t want to pay taxes. I don’t want to play the game like everyone else,’” Vauter told the Council during public comment. “It’s time for Corporate America to pay its fair share of taxes.”


Vauter was the only member of the public to speak on the resolutions, which both passed unanimously.


In other news, the Council unanimously voted to move forward on the Red Cedar Renaissance project by approving a petition for Lindemann’s work on the Montgomery Drain restoration.


The vote grants Lindemann one of two petitions he’ll need before moving forward on assessing the scope of the project, design and rebuilding.


At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood said Lindemann, if he gets approval from Ingham County on the other petition, will now hold a series of public hearings and talk to land owners around the former golf course.


“This is just the first step,” she said, adding that there will be several meetings and discussions before and if property owners are assessed for paying for the improvements.

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