Think about the negligent planning from all those people you’ve elected to make the right decisions and tough choices for your community, what about all those wasted years? Take a good look around, I can assure you it’s not that pretty. Who thought it a good idea to plant the Department of Public Works (DPW) smack dab (focal point) in downtown Blissfield? The DPW is the grey, round top drive shed in the center of the picture. They often have mounds of gravel etc. that are also visible from the highway. How many officials over the years thought it was a good thing to leave it there?
Who’s in Charge?
This is what we should have expected the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to accomplish. Judge for yourself what has actually been accomplished. It’s your taxpaying money they are using, what are you getting for it? Read the actual act below and visit the Michigan Legislature because you don’t want to be taking anyone’s word for anything.
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Act 197 of 1975
AN ACT to provide for the establishment of a downtown development authority; to prescribe its powers and duties; to correct and prevent deterioration in business districts; to encourage historic preservation; to authorize the acquisition and disposal of interests in real and personal property; to authorize the creation and implementation of development plans in the districts; to promote the economic growth of the districts; to create a board; to prescribe its powers and duties; to authorize the levy and collection of taxes; to authorize the issuance of bonds and other evidences of indebtedness; to authorize the use of tax increment financing; to reimburse downtown development authorities for certain losses of tax increment revenues; and to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state officials.
Did You Know…
Despite the restrictive sound of the title, one would automatically think the word downtown actually meant ‘just the downtown’. The DDA captures up to 18 mills property and business tax from the entire commercial district in Blissfield as depicted by the shaded area of the map below.* For those outlying businesses…surprise, they were supposed to be looking after you too, you’re in the downtown district!
* Apparently there is dispute over what they actually collect, however nothing can be confirmed at this point due to an inability to find their financial information listed anywhere, even though the law states other wise.
Perhaps you can get better information than I because whenever I have brought up some of the issues, problems or perceived mistakes, I got excuses and blame shifting as a response. The planning department can blame council, council can blame MDOT…etc, nobody is responsible in the end.
The Blissfield DDA was established in 1992, we should have a pretty great looking, vibrant downtown by this time. Have they prevented or corrected deterioration in the business districts? Did they encourage historical preservation? Does promoting the economic growth of the district mean planting flowers and hire someone to maintain them? If you are any of these people or these people are you’re friends, take a big step back and take a good long objective look. Our Village doesn’t look so good.
For another indication how the DDA is doing just browse their website and find they’ve done little updating to their website since 2005, unless they had no “visioning” past 2002. Maybe they’ve made a bit more effort since my 2nd post. The website was top of the line when it was built and probably cost about $3,000.00. If they spend money they can take credit for it. You don’t neglect the maintenance and upkeep (maybe they don’t do windows) or maybe they don’t really care.
Did You Also Know;
Our DDA Board are contacting other districts to find out how they can get around the Law in order to change board members compensation? They are looking for their positions to be paid. The DDA act states; “Members of the board shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses.” Check out section 125.1654 Sec. 4.(1) second last sentence.
The good news is that the DDA can be dissolved. Instead of having a DDA or a Chamber of Commerce (because that didn’t work out either) why not have a Business Association. It is possible, and it’s also possible to set it up to be abuse proof…imagine the possibilities.