Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

June 15, 2014

County opts out of DDA

TRAVERSE CITY — Leelanau County board members opted against signing onto Suttons Bay’s Downtown Development Authority, a budding agency whose planners hope to invest in the village’s business district.

The county board’s move means that new revenue generated by the county, and any county-voted taxes, such as for roads or senior services, could not be captured by the fledgling DDA.

The decision could slow investment in Suttons Bay, said Wally Delamater, the village manager.

“It will still be formed, but it might not be able to move as quickly as we’d hoped,” Delamater said.

A DDA can collect money for projects in a business area and has the ability to capture new revenue generated by taxes on increased taxable value within the district, and also tap into other funding mechanisms.

Delamater’s DDA vision includes investment in sidewalks, street lighting and handicap accessibility. Village Council members will be able to vote to establish the DDA after July 21, 60 days after they formed a resolution of intent to create the authority.

County board members and county Administrator Chet Janik said they could climb aboard at a future date.

“It’s not that we don’t support the DDA, but it gives us the opportunity to go get involved with them under our terms,” said Board Chairman Tom Van Pelt. “Otherwise we’re in at 100 percent under whatever terms the DDA sets and we’re in there for the entire duration, whether we would want to be or not.”

Janik said the county currently generates $57,000 in revenue

in the proposed district. If the county does not opt out, it would be frozen out of collecting on any increased value.

Commissioners said they wanted to know more about the duration of the DDA and its planned projects before they signed on. But those details won’t be determined until a DDA board is formed, after the 60-day period that taxing authorities have to opt out.

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