Proposed Dissolution of the Downtown Development Authority
- Jim Wade
- February 1, 2019
- 3 Min Read
Many of you may have seen newspaper reports of the Almont Village Council’s attempt to dissolve the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Since the DDA owns the museum building and lot, this is important to the Society. What follows is a short (“Cliff Notes”) version of what happened.
The village is concerned with the age and condition of the village’s water lines, sewer lines, and streets. Some of the water and sewer lines date to about 1914 – over 100 years of age. One of the Village Council members requested that the Village’s attorney write an ordinance to dissolve the DDA. Gaining control over the DDA’s fund equity account and its income was the rational for the request.
At a meeting the first week of January, Ordinance 204 to dissolve the DDA was given a “first reading” and a consensus vote of 4 for and 3 against. Those voting against were concerned over the rapidity of the proceedings. This was reported in the newspapers and created an uproar throughout the community. For the ordinance to be approved requires a “second reading” and then a formal vote by the council. The Village Charter stipulates that the “second reading” cannot occur sooner than the second meeting after the “first reading”. That “second reading” was and is scheduled for February 5th.
The DDA conducted a special meeting on January 8th to discuss this situation. At this meeting the DDA approved the funding for replacing the museum’s furnace and a number of small projects at the museum. The large crowd questioned the lone village council member present about why this was needed. The crowd also expressed their support for the continuation of the DDA.
The Village Council regular meeting on January 15th was attended by a large (standing room) crowd which expressed its displeasure with the possibility of dissolution of the DDA. The Village Manager informed the Council members that by State law, the funds in the DDA’s fund equity account could not be captured by the Village and a large portion of the DDA’s yearly income would go to the township and county, not the village. In other words, dissolving the DDA would not provide the village with funds for infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the lack of a DDA would harm the community both in attracting businesses and in obtaining grants for the needed infrastructure improvements.
The council members couldn’t vote to kill Ordinance 204 until February 5th but indicated that they would do so at that time. So crisis averted. The Society presented the DDA members and director with “certificates of appreciation” at their regular meeting on February 23rd.