Property taxes used to be collected solely to fund our necessary public services. In 1992 the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was created. At this time, the property taxes collected within the DDA district area were divided to fund both the DDA (attempts to re-vitalize the downtown) and the necessary public services such as schools, library, water, fire and police. The portion to pay the public services was frozen at 1992 levels, yet as property taxes rise year after year, the DDA continues to take a larger and larger amount. The cost of the public services has naturally increased, however due to the freeze put on their funding, you have had to pay more and more in property taxes because the DDA takes away funds from the public services.
Another way to look at it is – the commercial district (approximately 1/3 of Blissfield) pays for public services at 1992 rates while you pay 2011 rates plus the extra amount needed to cover the commercial districts shortfall!
The DDA needs to be dissolved and dissolved now!
20 Reasons to Dissolve the DDA
- The DDA has not satisfactorily performed their intended purpose of Act 197 of 1975; 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.
- DDA admitted incompetence when they brought the Michigan Main Street program on board to supposedly do the job they could not do since 1992.
- Façade grant program is used by select businesses as a replacement for responsibility of their own building upkeep – essentially used as a building maintenance fund.
- Reduce Village residents and business owner’s taxes; DDA has collected $180,000.00 this fiscal year that should be returned to the Village general fund and taxpayers.
- Hold Village Council directly responsible for every incoming and outgoing dollar.
- DDA functions entirely from taxpayer money – mandated support from everybody.
- DDA has replaced the privatized Chamber of Commerce that was donation centric to perform the same duties and accomplish the same goals.
- DDA/MMS is more interested in promoting the DDA and the Michigan Main Street Program than Blissfield or Blissfield business.
- DDA board member owned businesses received more grants than any other business.
- Improve transparency and open government.
- Reduce ostracizing volunteers and negative impact of non-favored businesses (corruption).
- Vastly reduce government picking winners and losers.
- DDA adopted Michigan Main Street suggested Bylaws (rules for us) but is changed at will (rules for them).
- The hired position of Michigan Main Street Manager is not a liaison for local businesses and does not address business interests or needs to the DDA. The manager simply follows orders from the DDA and promotes Michigan Main Street.
- Officials sold the Michigan Main Street program as free to the community. Diverting taxes is not free.
- DDA is not in touch with business needs or best interest.
- DDA forces their plans through, whether plans are fair or not, or challenged or not (with repeated Conflicts of Interest).
- DDA/Main Street Promotion Committee favors select businesses and excludes others.
- Michigan Main Street has sanctioned favoritism and spending.
- Let taxpayers decide what events, projects and promotions they want to contribute to…or not.
We should also be aware of the power and revenue sucking entities similar to the DDA like TIFA’s (Tax Increment Finance Authority), RDA’s (Redevelopment District Authority), LDFA (Local Development Finance Authority), BRA’s (Brownfield Redevelopment Authority), BID’s (Business Improvement Districts), PSD’s (Principle Shopping Districts), etc., see the rest of the list , including what Blissfield is currently working on…
- Historic Districts, Sites and Structures Act, 1970 PA 169, as amended, MCL 399.201 et seq. Provides for the establishment of historic districts and acquisition of resources for historic preservation purposes.
- Municipal Historical Commissions, 1957 PA 213, as amended, MCL 399. 171 et seq. Authorizes cities, villages, townships and counties to create historical commissions and prescribes their functions, to issue revenue bonds and to appropriate money for activities and projects.
Sink your teeth into this snapshot from California. Remember California invented Tax Increment Financing and used it liberally (no pun), Care to guess about the state their economy is in? Find out here; http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=5261&cpage=1. Please also read the second comment down – Scott’s comment is very informative.
What I found alarming was the highly questionable way the DDA brought Michigan Main Street into Blissfield. An unauthorized committee that pretended their meetings were open to the public but never posted a notice of the meetings. An unauthorized committee whose meetings were frequented by DDA Board members and Village Trustees, sometimes even a quorum that were making decisions for the Village. An unauthorized committee that was getting “Main Street” training that the taxpayers have to pay for in the event our 5 year contract is broken. A contract between our DDA and the Michigan Main Street (government) program was signed after it was sold to us as free. A government program that since signed a contract, takes credit for anything and everything any individual does for the Village.
This was a question and answer about legal council authorized committees, supplied by the Michigan Municipal League in their General Law Village handbook for public officials.
Question 69: Our committees usually consist of three trustees. If a fourth trustee attends, are we in violation of the Open Meetings Act?
Answer: You may be in violation if the meeting was not posted in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, especially if a quorum of the village council was present. It depends on what takes place and what decisions are made during the committee meeting. It is a good idea, however, to publish notice of the meetings even if the Open Meetings Act does not apply.
Committees should not take action. They gather information. When the committee takes information back to the council, the council must take care to deliberate on the committee information in an open meeting held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act to ensure that decisions were not made at the committee level. In some communities, the council meets as a committee of the whole on a regular basis to study issues.
It is better to be safe than sorry. We routinely suggest to our members that notices of committee meetings be posted.
I went to some of those unauthorized, law violating meetings. Read the Friends of Historic Blissfield tri-fold publication they put out; FOHB Brochure, claiming they found and spearheaded implementation of the Michigan Main Street program.