2014-10-02 / Business

DDA trims budget after Meijer settlement

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – The Downtown Development Authority has had to pare down its budget for this year, but they still have some money to put into improving the central business corridor.

After six years without income, the DDA had anticipated receiving $105,000 this year due to the opening of Meijer Inc.

“The DDA was conservative,” said City Manager Adam Zettel. “They put expenses at $79,000.”

This summer, Meijer appealed its property valuation. The company ended up negotiating a settlement with the city that reduced the true cash value to $9 million from $10.3 million.

Zettle has said the settlement was fair, and Meijer officials have expressed a desire to work with the city and be a good neighbor.

But the settlement cut the DDA’s share of tax money to just more than $73,000.

The DDA was able to make a few downward adjustments in its expenditures to accommodate the loss fairly painlessly.

They trimmed some administrative costs and reduced façade improvement grant money to $5,000 from $10,000. They also cut back on the amount they intended to spend on streetscaping.

Coincidentally, the DDA had budgeted $22,000 for demolition work downtown, but actually spent only $18,000.

Even with the adjustments, the DDA has about $37,000 in its fund balance, said Zettel.

“We’re trying, in the long run, to figure out what the budget will be, year to year,” he said. “Every time we do a budget, we get appeals.”

Mayor David Krueger said the city continues to fight appeals filed by Sports Creek Raceway, which is within the DDA district, and the Genesee Valley Meadows golf course, which is outside the DDA boundaries.

Both appeals are pending.

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