Good Saturday Morning, East Lansing.

What did you miss this week?

Good Saturday Morning, East Lansing.
Clockwise from upper left: Judge Richard Ball, Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg, Councilmember Lisa Babcock, Mayor Ron Bacon, Councilmember Dana Watson, City Manager George Lahanas. (Councilmember George Brookover was absent from the Dec. 13 meeting.) Dylan Lees for ELi

Things will quiet down soon around town, but this was a busy week in city government.

As Luke Day reported for ELi, the Dec. 13 meeting of Council brought an unexpected discussion of the deer cull, leading to the decision to hold off on the cull until Council can revisit the issue on Jan. 10. City staff have been asked to bring forward results of the ongoing survey of residents about deer management.

Tuesday’s Council meeting also included a short speech from Mayor Ron Bacon about how in 2023 East Lansing will leave a “scarcity mindset” and “take its rightful place.” And there were warm farewells for Councilmember Lisa Babcock who will be taking the seat of Judge Richard Ball. ELi brought a special report by Luke this week on Ball’s long history of service.

But the main item on the council agenda was the presentation to Council of the City of East Lansing’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. ELi will be bringing a special report for you next week on that. Two spoiler alerts from Alice Dreger, who is working on that report: In a surprise turn, the East Lansing income tax is now bringing in more revenue to the city’s general fund than property taxes are. And when those two big general fund revenue sources are added together, 90% of that total is going just to pay for public safety in East Lansing.

On Monday, ELi brought you a preview by Alice of the Downtown Development Authority’s meeting, noting that the DDA was scheduled to decide on whether to give River Caddis Development another six-month exclusive redevelopment deal. That company wants a chance now to propose a mixed-use (housing and retail) plan for the properties. Yesterday, we brought you an at-the-scene report from Luke, telling you what happened.

River Caddis Development President John McGraw (right) presenting to the DDA on Dec. 13. Dylan Lees for ELi

This week, ELi’s Dustin DuFort Petty also brought our readers a special report on some of the systems East Lansing Public Schools use to keep the schools safe. ELPS Superintendent Dori Leyko spoke with Dustin about the recent threat that led to shutting down MacDonald Middle School for a day—a threat reported using the technology OK2SAY.

An update on ELi’s financial health:

ELi is a nonprofit news service that depends on the financial support of readers like you. If you’ve already given to our Annual Campaign, thank you! If you haven’t given, we need you now.

Our 2023 budget estimates costs of current operations at $175,000 in total. So far, with special matching funds used to double donations, we have secured $95,142 in donations and annual commitments. We still have just under $10,000 left in matching funds, and they expire on Dec. 31.

If you give $50, that will be matched at the $50 rate. If you commit to a monthly donation, that is matched at the annual rate. Commit to $10/month and that puts ELi $240 closer to our goal. Commit to $25/month, and that puts ELi a whopping $600 closer to our goal.

Our fundraising team is getting nervous about not meeting a special marker that would earn us a $1,000 bonus from NewsMatch. To obtain that bonus, we need to have 100 new-to-ELi donors between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. We are currently at 28 in our count. Please consider donating today. By the way, all paid subscriptions to East Lansing Insider are matched through Dec. 31!

Opportunities to know about:

East Lansing businesses all over town are looking for your support this year by asking you to shop locally. Roy Saper of Saper Galleries shared with ELi a newsletter about that shop’s current exhibitions, which you are welcome to peruse as an art show even if you do not intend to purchase.

Alcazar Palace by Frederick Phillips

The gallery is currently hosting a show of Michigan artist Randall Higdon, a long-time sailor known for his water scenes. You can also now see the art of Frederick Phillips, including dramatic interiors and scenic vistas.

Interested in becoming active in East Lansing city government, or just want to know more about how the municipal government here works? Consider applying for the Emerging Leaders program. Start by reading this report from ELi that tells you why Mayor Ron Bacon believes he (and his campaign) benefited from the program.

Clockwise: ELPD cruiser, Chief Kim Johnson, Captain Chad Pride (Gary Caldwell for ELi), and Deputy Chief Chad Connelly (Dylan Lees for ELi)

The East Lansing Police Department is starting back up its Citizens’ Police Academy. Community members interested in learning more about the criminal justice system and ELPD’s work are encouraged to apply by Jan. 18, 2023. Learn more here.

What’s coming up?

East Lansing’s Commission on the Environment is scheduled to meet on Monday, Dec. 19. The Parks & Rec Advisory Commission and Library Board of Trustees will meet (separately) on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Agendas will be posted here when they are available.

But mostly, things are quieting down for the holidays at East Lansing’s public schools and the city government. Go to this page to find out about hours of various city services and to see the schedule of special holiday trash and recycling.

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