The Jan. 25, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s operations committee featured a preview of budgets for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015. For FY 2014, the DDA budget calls for $23.1 million in expenditures against $23.4 million in revenues. That would add about $300,000 to the total fund balance reserve, which is projected to end FY 2014 fiscal at around $5.5 million.
The surplus from FY 2014 would be used in the FY 2015 budget, which calls for $23.8 million in expenditures against $23.5 in revenues, leaving the DDA with about $5.2 million in total fund balance reserve at the end of FY 2015.
DDA revenues come from two main sources – tax increment finance (TIF) capture and Ann Arbor’s public parking system.
Besides operation and capital maintenance of the parking system, revenues to the public parking system are used by the DDA to support the getDowntown program’s go!pass subsidy. So one focus of the Jan. 25 DDA operations committee meeting was budgeting for that program. The go!pass is a bus pass that downtown employees obtain through their employers, who pay $10 annually for passes for each of their employees. In a presentation made to the operations committee, Michael Ford – CEO of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority – requested a total of $623,662 to support the getDowntown program, including the go!pass subsidy. That compares with $553,488 granted by the DDA last year. For FY 2014, the DDA’s draft budget calls for a $600,000 allocation that could cover most of that request.
This year’s draft budget also calls for $250,000 in parking revenue to be spent on a possible arrangement with the city of Ann Arbor to pay for additional downtown police patrols. Based on the conversation at the operations committee meeting, it’s not a topic on which any recent detailed talks have taken place. But DDA executive director Susan Pollay indicated a strong interest in having those conversations with the city. If that didn’t lead to an agreement with the city, she said, then the DDA board was certainly not obligated to spend the money in that way.
Another $300,000 in the FY 2014 budget that could be used somewhat flexibly is in the TIF fund budget, labeled “capital construction.” It could be used to fund sidewalk improvements between William and Liberty along State Street to facilitate patio dining for restaurants along that strip – or streetscape improvements for William Street, or even alley improvements near the Bell Tower Hotel, Pollay told the committee.
The full DDA board will be asked to approve the FY 2014 and FY 215 budgets at its Feb. 6 meeting. The DDA’s fiscal year is in sync with the city of Ann Arbor’s fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The city council will settle the city’s FY 2014 budget by May 20 – the council’s second meeting in May. While the city uses a two-year planning cycle – which begins fresh this year – the council approves its budget just one year at a time. [.pdf of draft DDA budgets FY 2014-15] [.pdf of FY 2013 six-month financial statements] [.pdf of monthly parking reports]