It’s not your imagination. If you pay water and sewer charges in East Lansing, your bills have been going up. Above, a chart provided to ELi by Scott House, East Lansing’s Director of Public Works, shows that the combined water-sewer rates here have about doubled in the last decade.
And this is not the only cost-of-living increase affecting East Lansing residents in the last few years.
In 2017, the City Council approved a “franchise fee” adding about 5 percent to the electric bills of BWL customers in the City limits. Those fees come back to the City, functioning as a major new source of revenue for East Lansing’s government but impose a real cost on East Lansing electric consumers. A class-action lawsuit is now challenging the legality of that fee, but for now, the Council-approved fee stands.
Then, for those subject to it, there’s the relatively-new East Lansing income tax, a one percent charge on income earned by businesses located here and people who live here.
While the income tax remains in effect (for a total of 12 years), a property tax reduction also is in effect. But the fact is that many East Lansing property owners have seen little if any reduction of their total property tax bills, and some report increases. Increases in assessed value and new voter-approved tax measures like the ELPS bond and county millages have come to cost property owners.
All in all, it’s safe to conclude that the cost of living in or running a business in East Lansing has been steadily rising.
ELi is planning to bring focused reporting on all these topics in 2021. As your dedicated local news source, we bring serious effort to bear in tracking local government revenue and expenditure. We track the use of tax dollars and answer reader questions about these issues in a fashion that is far more in-depth than any other local news source in our region.
Where does ELi get its money? As a nonprofit and independent news source that functions as a local watchdog for you, we rely almost entirely on local reader support to keep our public service news service coming.
How much do donors in this community invest in ELi? Right now, ELi operates on about $200,000 in donations per year. Yes, that’s all. That’s around $550 a day to keep us on the job and you informed.
If you want us to keep doing this work in 2021, now is the time to help. Our 2021 Sustainability Campaign currently provides matching contributions – so what you give will be doubled. If you sign up for a monthly commitment, we can get it matched at the yearly rate!It is super easy to give right now. We have lots of ways to give, from Apple Pay to Google Pay to credit card to PayPal to MSUFCU Member2Member to checks. Do it now!