Seven of 10 top property tax payers in Meridian Township last year were apartment properties

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Sitting in the food court of Meridian Mall, mall-goer Tim Cunningham guessed correctly when he said that the very building he was sitting in was one of the biggest taxpayers in Meridian Township. As a matter of fact, it is the biggest taxpayer in Meridian, with a total taxable value of $29,387,161 in 2015. Cunningham didn’t guess, however, that apartment properties made up seven of the top ten taxpayers in Meridian last year. “Wow, I’m surprised at that,” Cunningham said. “But I guess they do cover a lot of ground and they’re [made up of] a bunch of units.

Ingham County Finance Committee discuss "Z" List for 2014

By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Ingham County Finance Committee met Sept. 25th to discuss the budget for this year and options for 2014. The committee contemplated what areas to place on the “Z” List, which is additional money for the upcoming year. Some commissioners said the money should be saved and placed in the contingency, while others saw the need to disperse it throughout the county. “Let’s take the rest of the money, even though after taxes and things it will be a small amount, give it to staff with a thank you for the last five years since the crash of 2008,” said Ingham County Chairperson, Deb Nolan.

MSU Withholds Student Government Funding

After MSU requests ASMSU, the schools student government, to transfer their financial accounts on campus the organization votes to deny the request resulting in their funds being withheld. The university says the request is supported by past audits ASMSU see’s otherwise. Focal Point’s Cortni Moore tells us why.

Corruption lingers 20 years after legislative scandal erupts

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – It was 20 years ago this month that a front-page newspaper article began to unravel an extensive legislative corruption scandal that led to felony convictions for 10 people, including a lawmaker from the Upper Peninsula. That Jan. 15, 1993, Detroit News article and dozens that followed also helped push one of the state’s most powerful politicians onto the Capitol sidelines, uncovered political influence in the awarding of state contracts and triggered tougher oversight of the House Fiscal Agency (HFA), the nonpartisan office that analyzes tax and budget issues for the House of Representatives. And for the first time in 14 years, the Auditor General’s office examined the HFA’s books, discovering that at least $1.8 million in public money had been stolen, misspent or simply couldn’t be accounted for. That first article about suspicious financial dealings at the HFA, “State fiscal watchdog under fire,” by reporter Jim Mitzelfeld was like a domino standing on end that, when tipped over, knocks down all dominos lined up behind it.

School board approves position elimination

By Marina Csomor
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

MASON — When Mason resident Deb Wantor heard the Ingham Intermediate Board of Education approve the motion to eliminate her job as student assistance secretary at the Capital Area Career Center, she said she knew the decision was made unfairly. “I really don’t think they give an awful lot of thought to anything that they go and grunt and say, ‘The motion’s passed,’” Wantor said. At 6:30 p.m. March 20, the board met at Thorburn Education Center, 2630 W. Howell Road, in Mason, for its monthly meeting, where members discussed and approved issues including the elimination of seven jobs beginning in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The elimination of these positions — which include a career assessment and work-based learning specialist, director of instructional initiatives, instructional technologist, business/banking finance instructor and two night custodian jobs as well as Wantor’s position — will save the district $600,000, said Board President John Wolenberg, an East Lansing resident. The layoffs had been in the works by board members since last fall, Wolenberg said.

Doing More With Less: Meridian Township's Budget Strategy

Forming a budget during a recession is difficult. Families know this, as do government leaders.  Meridian Township leaders are fully aware, as well. Cuts to various positions and certain services were the main focus to balance the budget in 2010, 2011 and will likely be the case for the 2012 fiscal year. The elimination of school resource officials and the central fire stations are likely on the horizon for the township; in next year’s budget. Outsourcing of payroll functions and the elimination of Senior Celebration Week were some ways the budget was balanced for this fiscal year. Reducing the number of vehicles based on age is another way the budget was balanced for 2011.