Could Lansing Township be swallowed by the city of Lansing? Township says no way

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By Ana Williams
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

Google map; Lansing Township, (5-areas highlighted in red)

Google map; Lansing Township, (5-areas highlighted in red).

Lansing Township is a very disjointed area, especially due to the township’s five contiguous locations. It has been asked, what does the future hold for the township? Could it ever dissolve, swallowed by the city of Lansing? If so, who would provide services and what would be some pros and cons?

According to Lansing Township’s Supervisor, Diontrae Hayes, this idea is non-existent and deserved no chatter.

“There has been no discussion on this, so there is no likelihood of the township dissolving,” said Hayes. “We are a strong and viable township, so I do not know what the pros and cons may be.”

Lansing City Clerk, Chris Swope, was willing to give his input on this uninformed issue.

“Your call is the first I heard of it,” said Swope. “The township is about half a dozen separate pieces, that are kind of on different sides of the city, so, I can see some logic to some consolidation. I don’t know how the residents of the township would feel about it, but I can definitely see there is some logic to it.”

Swope further explained his meaning of the dissolve being logic.

“If you look at services for example, the Lansing Township police has to cross over the city of Lansing to cover their different territories,” said Swope.

According to MSU’s Political Science Professor Dr. Laura Reese, this issue is quite complex.

“This is a really complex subject,” said Reese. “In short form it is likely that the city would provide services. I am guessing they would have to have a new election for officials for the new combined government.

Google Map; City of Lansing

Google Map; City of Lansing, (highlighted in red).

Reese explains how consolidations such as this, are usually done to incorporate deals of improvment.

“Generally, consolidations are done to reduce costs, increase economies of scale, reduce redundant infrastructure and local officials. Advocates argue that it will also lower taxes. It almost never does that,” said Reese.

Reese’s belief that taxes almost never decrease explains her statement for the future of Lansing Township if the dissolvment were to happen.

“So, services for township residents will likely improve and there might be some economies of scale in service provision,” said Reese. “Overall, taxes are likely to stay the same. For developers, there will likely be streamlined rules and procedures.”

Right along with Reese, Ohio State University’s Political Science Professor, Vladimir Kogan, gives insight on what he believes could happen with tax procedures for two dissolving areas.

“Ultimately it depends on how the preferences of people of this area correspond to the preferences of the broader jurisdictions in to which they are being merged,” said Kogan.
“If they have the same priorities and same preferences for tax level and things like that, it probably won’t change a lot.”

Kogan further explains, “There probably could be some economy of scale, which could bring down the costs of city services, local services. I’m not sure exactly what services the township provides right now, but if they have their own police department for example, now you would have just one police chief for the whole area instead of two police chiefs.”

Swope, The Lansing city clerk, further explained his meaning of the dissolution being logical.

“If you look at services for example, the Lansing Township police has to cross over the city of Lansing to cover their different territories,” said Swope.

Swope was asked if he believed Lansing and Lansing Township could ever integrate, and if so, what would be some pros and cons?

“Sure, I think it is possible, but you know, there are Michigan Laws that lay out exactly how it would happen or could happen, so it would be a will to want to get it done and I don’t know if the township has that.”

The consolidation may not be necessary, due to some residents who do not notice the difference of dissolving.

“Well again, I think there would be a lot of efficiency in terms of government services rather than having separate different areas of the township,” said Swope. “You know, I think a lot of Lansing Township residents identify as living in Lansing when we are running elections. You know, when we have a city election we have folks who want to vote in it and don’t even necessarily realize that they live in the township and don’t live in the city. So I think there is an identity of Lansing that a lot of the folks in the township don’t have.”

Despite the pros and cons, what one may find most important to know is who will take over the services if the consolidation occurs?

“The city of Lansing is much larger,” said Swope. “I mean Lansing Township has a few thousand residents, I don’t know the exact number, but I think its under 10,000, and the City of Lansing has over 115,000. “

Lansing Township Resident, Adam Normandy gives a statement on what he thinks would happen if Lansing Township dissolves into Lansing.

“I think that would be beneficial for the people in Lansing. They’d probably get more tax revenue. For the people in Lansing Township, they’re bound to get their services cut or at least a decline in quality of service,” said Normandy.

Along with Normandy, Donald Cole, a Lansing resident, believes that the two areas dissolving could bring problems in services and strictness.

“The rules in the City of Lansing are stricter than those in Lansing Township,” said Cole. “So with that being said, there would be a lot of conflict in services and protocol if the two come together as one individual place.”

Hayes is glad to say she holds the position she does today.

“Being the new township supervisor, I am proud of the township that I serve.”

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