Flint

How high is rent in six Michigan cities?

Finance guidelines say housing should not cost more than 30 percent of household income. But in 2013, thousands of Michigan rental households fall below that standard.   Michigan Two-bedroom fair market rental: $768 Hourly wages needed to afford two-bedroom fair market rental: […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

One policy change can help end blight of abandoned property in Michigan

For decades, many U.S. communities have suffered from population loss and economic decline, resulting in widespread abandonment of industrial and commercial buildings. In Michigan, according to the Center for Automotive Research, about 105 of the 170 automotive plants built here since 1979 […]

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New reports ID five housing ‘hot spots’ in Michigan

Michigan’s housing stock is thinning, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which pegged the state as one of only two with fewer housing units in 2012 than in 2010. Neighboring Illinois is the other. But the state of housing is far from […]

Read Kurt Metzger's article

Land O Links

*Is the Traverse City area a “hateful” place? A new map presents a heat index of hateful words sent via Twitter and assigned to their origin points by county. As you zoom in on Michigan, the hottest spots are near Traverse City, […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Best, worst of Michigan communities’ fiscal ratings

David Hollister knows a bit about how public budgets work. He served as mayor of Lansing for a decade. Before that, he served two decades in the Michigan House, representing Lansing. And he says, “We need to recalculate how urban centers are […]

Read Bridge Magazine's article

Land O Links

*Michigan is in the national mainstream when it comes to the identity of its highest-paid public state employee. In about 40 states, that person is the coach of a collegiate football or men’s basketball team. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo would be Michigan’s […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Philanthropic groups step up to lead Michigan’s urban revival

There’s no doubt that one of Michigan’s biggest stories this year is Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to put Detroit under an emergency manager, and put attorney Keyvn Orr in that post. But Detroit is far from the first or only city in […]

Read Phil Power's column

Land O Links

*With the appointment of Kevyn Orr, Detroit, Pontiac and Flint all are under state emergency managers. Something else the three cities share: They have the three lowest rates of average household incomes among Michigan cities with at least 50,000 residents.  Flint’s at […]

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Billions more lost, but property value drop slowing

In five years, total Michigan property values plunged by more than $260 billion, according to an analysis of state records by Bridge Magazine. But while the decline continued over the last year, it slowed considerably. Values dropped from $725.5 billion in 2011 […]

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Detroit’s problems echoed in a (far) smaller Flint

The website is not the type of brand identity any city would seek. Called “Abandoned Flint,” it posts photos of ruined homes and businesses and a running commentary that reads like a post-modern apocalypse. Under photos of “Abandoned Travelodge,” it notes: “… […]

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Land O Links

* As this ProPublica story mentions, Michigan is familiar with the consequences when an oil or gas pipeline ruptures. The story also notes that pipelines are considered safer than alternative means of fuel transport (trucks, trains): http://www.propublica.org/article/ pipelines-explained-how-safe-are-americas-2.5-million-miles-of-pipelines * Jack Lessenberry pays […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Land O Links

“Knowledge is not a passion from without the mind, but an active exertion of the inward strength, vigor and power of the mind, displaying itself from within” — Ralph Cudworth, 17th century English philosopher. * ProPublica gives a grand tour of campaign finance […]

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Why the lights never come on in some preschool classrooms

Gobles is a small, rural, almost exclusively white community on the west side of the state. Beecher is an old blue-collar suburb of Flint, racially mixed and overwhelmingly poor. But the children of Gobles and Beecher do share a characteristic — one […]

Read Ron French's article

Learning life outdoors: Old idea, new generation

Dick Laing recalls with pride working with Michigan Tech Universityon a residential “boot camp” style program in forestry and conservation skills in the Upper Peninsula that helped disadvantaged youngsters develop life skills. The program eventually fell victim to budgetary neglect, he says. Laing […]

Read Jina Sawani's article

Guest column: Unfunded legacy costs = big trouble for local governments

By Robert Daddow/Oakland County deputy executive “Property tax revenues implode.”  “Deficit elimination plan draconian.”  “Troubled pension plan may not pay benefits.”  “Pension investments crash, will cost retirees.”  These troubling headlines reflect a branding that no responsible official would ever want to see […]

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Land O Links

“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating — people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing” — Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright and author. * Durable goods manufacturing, as a percentage of total economic activity, is […]

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Pension costs burn through city budgets

Lansing’s taxpayers were doused with some difficult news last week: The city’s pension fund for police and fire retirees could use a nearly $2 million boost from the city’s general fund. And the city’s already fighting a budget deficit. Big-city fire departments […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

Guest column: Change tax code to feed starving Michigan cities

By Dayne Walling/Flint mayor In Michigan, cities were the greatest victims of the recent near failure of the economy and the housing market. Michigan is not seeing the same renaissance of returning to the city at a significant rate equal to the […]

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