Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority special board meeting (May 27, 2011): At a special DDA board meeting held at noon on Friday, board members voted to give final approval to a contract under which the DDA would continue to manage the city’s public parking system. The vote was unanimous among the 10 board members who attended. Absent were Gary Boren and Newcombe Clark.
(Left to right): DDA board members Roger Hewitt, mayor John Hieftje, and Leah Gunn at the special May 27 DDA board meeting. (Photos by the writer.)
The financial part of the contract calls for the city to receive 17% of gross revenues from the public parking system, and would have an initial term of 11 years, with one renewal option for another 11 years. That would end the contract in 2033, which coincides with the DDA’s currently established endpoint.
The contract includes a new underwriting clause for the DDA’s fund balance. Key features of that clause are: (1) it’s applicable only through 2016; (2) it’s triggered if combined DDA fund balance fall below $1 million; (3) the trigger is evaluated based on the annual audit of DDA books in September or October, for the previous fiscal year; (4) if underwriting were triggered, it would take the form of reducing existing payments that the DDA makes to the city; (5) the city’s liability is limited to $1 million annually and $2 million cumulatively; and (6) any money the city is deprived of through this underwriting would be restored to the city, at whatever point the DDA’s cumulative fund balance reaches $4 million.
After brief deliberations, the DDA board voted unanimously to ratify the contract, which now includes the underwriting clause. [.pdf of ratified draft contract]
With that vote, the DDA board also approved a new contract clause that specifies how the DDA board and city council will handle a contractually required consultation between the two groups, in conjunction with parking rate changes. The consultation by the DDA will now be a required agenda item at annual joint working sessions between the DDA board and the city council. Currently, the DDA proposes rate changes, which are automatically enacted, unless the city council vetoes them. The new contract stipulates that the DDA would have sole authority to set rates.
The city council may now ratify the parking contract on Monday, May 31, which would help settle part of the city’s revenue issues in its fiscal year 2012 budget. It would allow the council to finalize its budget on that same evening. [For additional background, see Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Council Defers Action Again"]
Councilmembers Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) sat in the audience of the DDA’s May 27 meeting. On May 31, the contract could face stiff opposition from at least those two, and possibly other councilmembers. After the DDA’s May 27 board meeting, Kunselman characterized the underwriting clause to The Chronicle as a “no-layoff clause for the DDA.”
Another lingering DDA issue that could result in discussion not just by the Ann Arbor city council – but also by the Washtenaw Community College board of trustees, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, and the Ann Arbor District Library board – is the return of excess TIF capture by the DDA. [Full Story]