Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (March 7, 2012): The main business item for the board at its monthly meeting was the approval of its budget for the coming fiscal year 2013, which starts on July 1, 2012. Across all funds, the FY 2013 DDA budget shows anticipated revenues of $22,097,956 against $24,101,692 in expenditures – for an excess of expenditures over revenues of $2,003,736.
The difference will be covered from the existing fund balance. The use of fund balance, in the current year and in the coming year, was planned as part of the construction of a new underground parking structure on South Fifth Avenue, and a new contract with the city of Ann Arbor, ratified in May of 2011. The contract, under which the DDA manages the city’s public parking system, pays the city of Ann Arbor 17% of gross revenues from the parking system.
At the end of FY 2013, the DDA expects to have a total fund balance of $4.38 million, or an amount equal to about 18.2% of expenses.
In its other main business item, the board authorized a budget of $100,000 for its Connecting William Street project, which it’s undertaking at the direction of the Ann Arbor city council. The council passed a resolution on April 4, 2011 that gave the DDA direction to explore alternative uses of city-owned parcels – currently used for surface parking – in a limited area of downtown. The area is bounded by Ashley, Division, Liberty and William streets.
Parcels included in the area are: the Kline’s lot (on Ashley, north of William), Palio’s lot (at Main & William), the ground floor of the Fourth & William parking structure, the old Y lot (Fifth & William), and the top of the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage, which is nearing completion.
Of the budgeted amount, $65,000 will come from a community challenge grant awarded recently as part of a larger $3 million grant awarded to Washtenaw County by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The remaining $35,000 will be made up by DDA cash (no more than $20,000) and DDA in-kind contributions of staff time.
Toward the end of Wednesday’s meeting, the board also entertained some discussion about parking meter bags. The bags placed over on-street parking meters to designate the spots as unusable, so that streets are free of parked cars for construction projects or special events. The meter bag discussion came in the context of a request on behalf of FestiFools and conveyed by mayor John Hieftje, who sits on the DDA board. The request was to waive fees ordinarily associated with the meter bag placement for the April 1 FestiFools parade in downtown Ann Arbor.
One possible approach includes the creation of a parking meter puppet.