LANSING, Mich. — Residents of the Groesbeck neighborhood in Lansing Township asked to be annexed by the city of Lansing earlier this summer.
“We knew there was going to be a challenge, we knew it,” said Lansing Township resident John DeMarco.
That challenge started not even two weeks ago when Lansing Township leaders filed a lawsuit against the city of Lansing and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum arguing the township annexation proposal should not go on the ballot because it had improper language and violated The Charter Township Act 359. Then, on Tuesday, a judge decided in favor of Lansing Township.
“So the judge has temporarily ordered that the annexation shall not appear on the ballot,” Byrum said.
The controversy started back in July when around 120 residents of the Groesbeck neighborhood sent a letter to Lansing Mayor Andy Schor asking to become a part of the city because they were unhappy about the township having more than $30 million in debt.
“As a township, we really didn’t know how bad it was,” DeMarco said.
Lansing City Council unanimously voted to put the residents’ request on the November ballot.
Fast forward a month later, while residents weren’t happy about the judge’s decision, they’re hoping it’s not too late for the annexation proposal to move forward.
“If we can get this on the ballot so we can vote on rather we want to stay in township or go to Lansing, that’s the main thing,” DeMarco said.
The officials with the city of Lansing said they will be filing an appeal to the judge’s decision.
“We knew that the lawsuit was probably forthcoming, but I think we have remained confident that we have remained in state law, and we believe we can move forward with this ballot proposal,” Lansing City Council President Adam Hussain said.
The appeal hearing is set for Sep. 12, but Byrum wishes the timing could have been better because she says it's getting in the way of general election preparations.
"Ballots need to go to print by Sept. 12, which means ideally we need to know where things stand by [Sept. 9], and it’s [Sept. 7] right now, so time is not on our side,” Byrum said.
We reached out to Lansing Township officials, but they did not get back to us.