Lansing councilwoman: city might learn more about HUD complaint

Jun 20, 2016

Lansing is waiting to learn more about the status of a discrimination complaint with HUD involving city officials. We talk with city council member Carol Wood about that and about Jim Smiertka, the appointee awaiting confirmation as Lansing’s next city attorney.

In Washington, federal housing officials are considering a complaint filed last month that involves the city of Lansing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is exploring the claim. It suggests that city officials discriminate against low income minorities by resisting housing projects meant for them. It came after the city council in March refused to grant a Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) incentive to a developer considering a project in Old Town Lansing that would include low-income housing.

Opponents of PILOTS question the need for such housing. They also argue that the incentives are depriving the city of much-needed revenue.

Mayor Virg Bernero railed against the council decision, accusing it of discrimination.

Current State’s Mark Bashore speaks with city councilwoman Carol Wood about the dispute and other issues. Wood voted not to grant the PILOT to local developer Sam Saboury. She says she’s not clear where the HUD issue stands, but hopes the city attorney’s office can learn more.