Lindemann: Greater Lansing stuck with ‘unstoppable’ drainage project

Drain commissioner dismisses opposition to Montgomery Drain construction

Posted

SATURDAY, May 23  — When it comes to Ingham County drainage projects, Pat Lindemann is king.

As outlined in state law, Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann carries nearly unilateral authority to decide how drains are built and how much the projects will cost. He just sends outs the bills. And despite opposition to his latest multi-million drain project, Lindemann isn’t backing down.

“This project will be done. We’re not going to stop it,” Lindemann said. “We already have crews out there. We’re ordering materials and pipes. You can’t just stop everything and say you’re saving money. I can try to get better prices and save money upfront, but it can’t be stopped.”

Plans quietly approved by the Lansing City Council on Monday call for property owners in Lansing to shoulder about two-thirds of the cost of the reconstruction of the Montgomery Drain. Lansing’s portion — which will be assessed directly to taxpayers — could cost up to $41 million, including interest, over the next 30 years. Residents won’t have any say in the matter, but the costs are slated to begin appearing on property taxes and a new assessment as early as winter.

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and at least two Ingham County commissioners would prefer Lindemann tap the brakes on the project during an ongoing global health crisis. More assessments to residents and businesses could be financially devastating, they’ve said.

But after considering the newfound opposition, Lindemann has decided to ignore their advice.

“We have thousands of people that’ll be working on this project — at least 2,000 people,” Lindemann said. “Wrapping up this project now means that crews will be out there until at least February next year and we’ll still get billed for the unfinished construction. It’s just impossible.”

The Montgomery Drain Project has been in the works since Lindemann first noticed the crumbling drainage infrastructure back in the ‘90s. The stormwater retrofit, which Lansing petitioned to have done in 2014, is designed to reduce up to 75,000 lbs. of pollution from the Red Cedar River annually by constructing a series of natural features within the drain system.

Nearly three miles of service paths will also serve as hiking and biking paths for the public.

Chamber officials for weeks have asked Lindemann — who has sole control over the cost and who must pay it — to temporarily halt or reduce the scope of his plans. A pandemic is hardly the best time to tack on costs to struggling homeowners and entrepreneurs, officials contended.

“While we believe investing in our infrastructure is vital, the assessments for these drains will only further impact the financial challenges to small businesses and residents that will be required to pay for these projects,” Chamber officials told the county’s Board of Commissioners.

While commissioners are powerless to suspend the drain project, they can still send a message of opposition to Lindemann by refusing to pledge full faith and credit to the bonding proposal — dodging liability for the costs should bills be left unpaid and ratcheting up project interest rates.

And that’s exactly what the Chamber of Commerce is asking commissioners to do next week.

“The county should not be making any major financial commitments smack dab in the middle of the worst financial crisis in modern history,” said Commissioner Thomas Morgan. “I’d ask the drain commissioner to press the pause button and look for ways to scale back his grand vision.”

Morgan, the chairman of the board of commissioners’ finance committee, said he will vote against a county proposal to financially endorse the project. Lindemann “is holding a gun to the head of taxpayers” during a pandemic, Morgan said, and he doesn’t enjoy “being held hostage.”

Board chairman Bryan Crenshaw also plans to vote against a measure to pledge the county’s full faith and credit behind Lindemann’s bonding. But both of them recognize they’re unlikely to gain support from their colleagues. Their vote of opposition would only be symbolic, at best.

Any resistance from the county board, as Lindemann rightly contends, would only increase interest rates as he charges forward with the project regardless. Lenders would look more positively on a project that has essentially been co-signed by the Board of Commissioners.

“If they don’t give us full faith and credit and I still need to borrow without it, we’d lose millions in savings,” Lindemann said. “The assurance of the county just lowers our interest rate. If these commissioners want to raise taxes on their citizens, a move like this is exactly the way to do it.”

A resolution pledging full faith and credit for the project was abruptly pulled from the Finance Committee’s agenda this week. Morgan said it’ll be up for a vote at its next meeting, in June.

“State law gives almost dictatorial powers to that office to load up taxpayers with assessments,” Morgan said. “Until that changes, nothing will. Lindemann will continue to have carte blanche to build elaborate monuments to his own genius, using as much of taxpayers’ dollars as he wants.”

To fund the project, Lansing — as approved by the City Council — is expected to levy an additional 0.26 mills on property taxes for every city property beginning this winter. That equates to an estimated annual increase of about $13 for a home with a taxable value of $50,000.

Owners of the 180 residential and commercial properties in the immediate area of the project would also pay much more: $377 annually for residences and $11,831 for commercial, in addition to the city tax. Those bills, pending City Council approval, could also arrive by winter.

Lindemann said he’s still exploring plans to piecemeal the upfront costs over the next several years, but city officials have still prepared plans to cover the project entirely with new taxes.

Most bids for Lindemann’s project haven’t been received. The costs, he has repeatedly emphasized, are subject to change by the end of July. But Schor and the City Council had to figure out how to finance the project as part of the annual budget, which was passed Monday.

The largest single contributor will be the Red Cedar development itself, which is slated to pitch in at least $2.75 million in local assessment costs. The rest of the project will be covered by assessments and through additional property taxes from every tax-paying property owner.

Lindemann emphasized that interest rates on his bonding proposal that would cover the costs of the project are particularly low, which could reduce costs if he strikes quickly to borrow. Some construction, he noted, is also already ongoing and must also be completed before the winter.

“Roadblocks to this project have only cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in delays,” Lindemann said. “This could’ve been done years ago — and for a much cheaper rate. These continued delays would only cause us to lose more savings. I’m sorry about the COVID-19 thing, but I had no control over that. There’s nothing I can do to slow this down now. I can look for better pricing structures and manipulate the borrowing into pieces, but it cannot be stopped.”

While Lansing is expected to cover 64% of the project, the rest will be split up among Lansing Township, with 14%; the Michigan Department of Transportation, with 10%; East Lansing, with 7%; and the Ingham County Road Department, with 5%. Other municipalities, like East Lansing, plan to spread the new costs across a new assessment for every property owner in the city.

The City Council doesn’t need to set the tax rolls until later this summer as costs are finalized, but officials drafted a list of which property owners would be affected by the new assessment. Costs haven’t been finalized, but they will be based on acreage and expected runoff rates.

 

Which properties could be assessed for Lansing’s share of the project?

Property Owner

Parcel Address

Acreage in District

CITY OF LANSING

STONEWOOD DR.

0.435

KARISHMA NASSERY

3211 STONEWOOD DR.

0.316

BOARD OF WATER & LIGHT

VACANT

0.114

THERESA E VANDORPE

3221 STONEWOOD DR.

0.186

MARGARET J JOHNSON

3227 STONEWOOD DR.

0.140

GEORGE & CHRISTINE KYRIAKOU

3231 STONEWOOD DR.

0.127

PAUL & LOIS MIDTHUN

3237 STONEWOOD DR.

0.117

SUSAN L NORTON

3245 STONEWOOD DR.

0.100

MICHELE M ABRAMS

3251 STONEWOOD DR.

0.042

TARA J SHEA

3301 STONEWOOD DR.

0.041

MICHAEL & ERIN SARZYNSKI

3307 STONEWOOD DR.

0.057

DONALD & JOCELYN S VANDA

3315 STONEWOOD DR.

0.060

KIRBY L & BETH M SMITH

1301 COOLIDGE RD.

0.213

RONALD J & ANNETTE M IRWIN

3208 STONEWOOD DR.

0.240

MICHAEL Z & KANGYAN WONG

3201 HILLGATE CIRCLE

0.379

DAVID H DEKKER

3209 HILLGATE CIRCLE

0.267

MICHAEL & JENIFER NELLER

3213 HILLGATE CIRCLE

0.313

ALLAN L SHERWIN

1142 HILLGATE WAY

0.209

JEANETTE M SCROGGINS

1132 HILLGATE WAY

0.275

ANDREW S FREEMAN

1122 HILLGATE WAY

0.237

JACK R & BONNIE L PIOTTER

1114 HILLGATE WAY

0.191

RONALD R & DAYNA L REYNOLDS

1103 SHELTER LN.

0.279

PATRICIA A HOWELL

1115 SHELTER LN.

0.218

HELEN ENANDER

1123 SHELTER LN.

0.238

MARK & LIZABETH A OLSON

1129 SHELTER LN.

0.315

JOHN L & BETH HAUBENSTRICKER

1139 SHELTER LN.

0.293

LINDSAY S FORTMAN & SUSAN A CRANE

1145 SHELTER LN.

0.230

DAVID P FISHER

1151 SHELTER LN.

0.230

CARRIE D DELFAVERO

1159 SHELTER LN.

0.244

DANIEL A & MELISSA L MACKEY

3240 STONEWOOD DR.

0.239

PHILIP R & MARY R BARRIE

3232 STONEWOOD DR.

0.239

LENG NOU & VUE XIONG

3226 STONEWOOD DR.

0.233

KATHY S GRUHN

3218 STONEWOOD DR.

0.203

STEVEN D DILLEY & JOANNE D TRU BUMP

1141 FAIRWAY LN.

0.369

DEBORAH L & GERALD M FOSTER

1127 FAIRWAY LN.

0.490

MICHAEL D & BARBARA HOLDA

1119 FAIRWAY LN.

0.226

CHARLES GORDON JR

1107 FAIRWAY LN.

0.284

JASON & JENNIFER SMITH

1043 FAIRWAY LN.

0.136

JOSEPH & LORETTA A WISNIEWSKI FAMILY TRUST

3116 FAIRWAY CT.

0.247

SAM H LU & YANG SUN LIAN

3110 FAIRWAY CT.

0.201

TIM PORTEE

3106 FAIRWAY CT.

0.276

PIDA GWAZANI E & KELLY CHIFUNDO

3107 FAIRWAY CT.

0.338

STEVEN G & CRYSTAL L CORBETT

3109 FAIRWAY CT.

0.423

ZHI C YE

1019 FAIRWAY LN.

0.377

LARRY C & PAMELA JO GUERRANT

1210 FAIRWAY LN.

0.290

HARVEY & ROBERTA CANNON

1202 FAIRWAY LN.

0.231

SAID ELMOGABER & HAMDIA ELOSTAZ

1144 FAIRWAY LN.

0.248

PETER N ACHUONJEI

1136 FAIRWAY LN.

0.248

ASPAR LLC

1128 FAIRWAY LN.

0.242

TIMOTHY D BROWN

1120 FAIRWAY LN.

0.249

AUDREY D BENTLEY

1114 FAIRWAY LN.

0.256

KELLIE L GARRETT

1108 FAIRWAY LN.

0.348

TIMOTHY JOHNSON & SARAH B CENSONIJOHNSON

1102 FAIRWAY LN.

0.338

DONALD HILLIARD

1040 FAIRWAY LN.

0.220

SARAH E DANIELS

1036 FAIRWAY LN.

0.268

NATHAN R & COURTNEY L REYNOLDS

1032 FAIRWAY LN.

0.212

SHEBA MORAA ONCHIRI

1028 FAIRWAY LN.

0.216

WORKNESH TEFERRA

1020 FAIRWAY LN.

0.184

MICHAEL A & JUDITH A MINICH

1014 FAIRWAY LN.

0.184

KRIS R YOUNG

1008 FAIRWAY LN.

0.160

WILLIAM N & ELAINE KRITSELIS

936 FAIRWAY LN.

0.128

HUHWA WU

1001 SHELTER LN.

0.245

MALIK E M A & HAFSA BALLA

1005 SHELTER LN.

0.259

TOMMY L & CHAD D BUCKLES

1011 SHELTER LN.

0.321

MARY CARROCCIO

1019 SHELTER LN.

0.247

SARAH CARTER

1025 SHELTER LN.

0.245

JUDY L FOLEY

1029 SHELTER LN.

0.270

NASHWA A KHOGALI

1035 SHELTER LN.

0.353

CHRISTOPHER A & KRISTEN L UMPHLETT

1037 SHELTER LN.

0.388

ANDRES M & DIANA C QUINTERO

1039 SHELTER LN.

0.262

SELIN FAMILY TRUST

1049 SHELTER LN.

0.219

MERNA M BUDDEN

1105 HILLGATE WAY

0.256

CHANGYI WANG

1115 HILLGATE WAY

0.307

BRAD L & ELIZABETH A LAMACCHIA

1123 HILLGATE WAY

0.303

TIMOTHY L MUSSON

1131 HILLGATE WAY

0.247

JOEL A & ARLENE R SHARKEY

1139 HILLGATE WAY

0.237

PHAT K & LAN G HA

1147 HILLGATE WAY

0.245

JAMES R & KAREN A FIROS

1155 HILLGATE WAY

0.219

FAZEL M & MASOOMA A NOORI

1203 HILLGATE WAY

0.250

DALTON M CHILDRESS JR

1211HILLGATE WAY

0.166

DANIEL L MACHIORLATTI

1164 SHELTER LN.

0.235

DAVID A & MARY ANN MERCHANT

1152 SHELTER LN.

0.234

KURT R WAGNER

1148 SHELTER LN.

0.234

BARBARA POWERS

1140 SHELTER LN.

0.234

YVONNE & KURTZ SEAMAN

1132 SHELTER LN.

0.234

RONALD RAY & ENLIN YAO ABBOTT

1126 SHELTER LN.

0.234

MICHAEL E & JENNIFER R & DEBOW ORAH NELLER

1118 SHELTER LN.

0.234

DANIEL J DEKKER

1110 SHELTER LN.

0.234

RUI H & LI XIAO Z HUANG

1100 SHELTER LN.

0.185

JACK H & FRIEDA M DELNAAY

1056 SHELTER LN.

0.248

WILLIAM J FLUKE

1048 SHELTER LN.

0.248

ABAYNESH & GELETA DESTA FIDA

1044 SHELTER LN.

0.271

JOE & KEIKO COUSINS

1036 SHELTER LN.

0.336

TSVETA LAMBO

1034 SHELTER LN.

0.330

MICAH T COUSINS

1032 SHELTER LN.

0.233

AILIE M WEAVER

1030 SHELTER LN.

0.176

SCOTT BANKROFF

1028 SHELTER LN.

0.199

LINDA L SCHMITT

1026 SHELTER LN.

0.196

ERNEST R & SHIRLEY CONRAD

1020 SHELTER LN.

0.221

STEVEN P DEMBSKI & LAURA BIX

1016 SHELTER LN.

0.207

MOLLY WHELAN

1010 SHELTER LN.

0.180

DAVID R MAIN

1004 SHELTER LN.

0.180

JAMES K JR & KATHLEEN MACDONALD

1000 SHELTER LN.

0.254

SAMUEL D SCHULTZ

3115 HOLIDAY DR.

0.209

JOSHUA & LAURA CUNNINGHAM

3201 MELODY LN.

0.255

YANWAN L SAUNDERS

3207 MELODY LN.

0.243

MARIA MERCEDES LUIS

3211 MELODY LN.

0.202

ADAM J SHAVER

3215 MELODY LN.

0.215

PATRICK D & CARLA L BARNES

3301 MELODY LN.

0.332

PETER & RENEE HOFFMAN

3307 MELODY LN.

0.257

MAURICIO PORTILLO

3313 MELODY LN.

0.249

BERNICE & DONESON SUSAN GOTTSCHALCK & KATHRYN G LIPNICKI

3321 MELODY LN.

0.281

NGAO PHIRI

3331 MELODY LN.

0.220

DAVID A HADDAD

1017 COOLIDGE RD.

0.193

TERRANCE K & JANICE WELSH

1023 COOLIDGE RD.

0.193

ALA YAHYA

1029 COOLIDGE RD.

0.193

SULEIMAN H MATTO

1035 COOLIDGE RD.

0.193

KATHLEEN D VALDES

1041 COOLIDGE RD.

0.193

GHADA WALKER

1047 COOLIDGE RD.

0.226

GAR JOHN LEE

1053 COOLIDGE RD.

0.220

LUCILLE M NILAN

1101 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

DIRCK & THANHTAM TERWILLIGER

1109 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

NADIA R PEREZCERNUDA

1117 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

TRUYEN G & ANH N PHAN

1125 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

CHERYL A LUICK

1131 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

DANIELLE R BALLENTINE

1201 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

JEFFERY L GOOCH

1215 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

JAMES A JR EDWINA MARSHALL

1233 COOLIDGE RD.

0.234

RAYMOND & KARREN VERNAGUS

3322 STONEWOOD DR.

0.234

S & S PROPERTY MGMT LLC

3101 E SAGINAW ST

0.950

REFALO MANAGEMENT LLC

3125 E SAGINAW ST

0.986

SPEEDWAY LLC

3201 E SAGINAW ST

0.507

EDWARD F & CYNTHIA L TANK

1009 FAIRWAY LN.

0.251

EDWARD F & CYNTHIA L TANK

1001 FAIRWAY LN.

0.307

NMPMB LLC

3101 FAIRWAY LN.

3.261

IZABELLA HMC LLC

3121 E GRAND RIVER AVE

2.355

GK RETAIL HOLDINGS INC.

3201 E GRAND RIVER AVE

1.390

FRANDORSON PROPERTIES

COOLIDGE RD.

1.412

FRANDORSON PROPERTIES

3415 E SAGINAW ST.

2.588

WG SAGINAW LANSING MI LLC

3435 E SAGINAW ST

1.338

905 COOLIDGE LLC

905 COOLIDGE RD.

0.423

ATLANTIS PROPERTIES LLC

921 COOLIDGE RD.

0.580

DENNIS G & JANET M PALMER

3328 MELODY LN

0.215

KRIS R YOUNG

3320 MELODY LN

0.193

GREENE RENTALS LLC

6107 FRESNO LN.

0.207

TODD A & MICHELE S & AARON WARSTLER

3308 MELODY LN.

0.207

NEAL H DEVRIES

3220 MELODY LN.

0.178

DAROLD D & MARYANN P BOYD

3212 MELODY LN.

0.166

AMBER MANAGEMENT CO

3206 MELODY LN.

0.256

BRENTWOOD PLACE LLC

3227 HOLIDAY DR.

0.417

BRENTWOOD PLACE LLC

3225 HOLIDAY DR.

0.476

HOLIDAY TOWNHOUSE LLC

3218 HOLIDAY DR.

0.920

L31 LLC

3208 HOLIDAY DR.

0.646

L31 LLC

3120 HOLIDAY DR.

0.578

MICHAEL & NORMA COSCARELLI

3106 HOLIDAY DR.

0.292

VINCENT & SILVANA SPAGNUOLO

3100 HOLIDAY DR.

0.327

E MICHIGAN (3301) PARTNERS

3301 E MICHIGAN AVE

9.483

3335 E MICHIGAN LLC

3335 E MICHIGAN AVE

0.577

3411 E MICHIGAN AVE LLC

3433 E MICHIGAN AVE

1.007

EAST MICHIGAN (3301)

FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE

0.849

FIRST HOUSING CORPORATION

200 FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE

3.900

3301 EAST MICHIGAN PARTNERSHIP

3315 E MICHIGAN AVE

1.301

LINDEN ENTERPRISES LLC / AMBER MANAGEMENT CO

1275 OAKRIDGE DR

0.774

LANSING RETAIL CENTER LLC

3100 E SAGNIAW ST

1.414

LANSING RETAIL CENTER LLC

300 FRANDOR AVE

32.000

4TH STREET SOUTH II LLC GILLESPIE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC

3131 E MICHIGAN AVE

14.481

LANSING PROPERTIES I LLC

3165 E MICHIGAN AVE

3.368

LANSING RETAIL CENTER LLC

E MICHIGAN AVE

0.675

CITY OF LANSING

3201 E MICHIGAN AVE

18.900

PATRICIA J ALEXANDER

3220 E SAGINAW ST

1.090

RED LOBSTER INNS OF AMERICA INC RESTAURANT #0010201

3130 E SAGINAW ST

0.999

DANIEL T MARSHALL

3240 E SAGINAW ST

1.035

EDSONS LLC

3000 VINE ST

0.618

COMERICA BANK

223 N CLIPPERT ST

1.112

KSH CORP

200 N HOMER ST.

0.664

SHAHEEN PROPERTIES LLC

3003 E MICHIGAN AVE

1.271

LANSING FARM PRODUCTS

E MICHIGAN AVE

0.705

SHAHEEN PROPERTIES LLC

125 N CLIPPERT ST

0.549

203 N CLIPPERT LLC

203 N CLIPPERT ST

0.274

SUBIK SINGH & SMITA OBEROI

211 N CLIPPERT ST

0.129

SALIM MARKHOUL

215 N CLIPPERT ST

0.124

CITY OF LANSING - MONTGOMERY DRAIN DISTRICT EASEMENT

203 S CLIPPERT ST

20.000

RED CEDAR REDEVELOPMENT - FERGUSON/KASS

203 S CLIPPERT ST

35.440

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Connect with us