Library Weighs DDA Excess Tax Decision

During her written director’s report for the Ann Arbor District Library’s Aug. 15, 2011 board meeting, AADL director Josie Parker noted that the library is considering the legal and financial implications of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s decision regarding “excess” taxes captured in the DDA’s tax increment finance (TIF) district. The AADL board began its meeting with a closed session to discuss the opinion of its legal counsel, as well as for labor negotiations. The board did not discuss the issue during the public portion of its meeting, but scheduled another closed session to hear the opinion of legal counsel at its Sept. 19 meeting.

At issue is the interpretation of a city ordinance about TIF capture in the DDA’s downtown district, and a decision by the DDA board made at a special meeting held on July 27, 2011. At that meeting, the DDA board passed a resolution stating its view that the city’s ordinance did not require the DDA to return money to taxing authorities in its TIF district – which the DDA had already returned earlier this year. The language of the resolution was somewhat vague, stating that “no redistribution to relevant taxing authorities is required.” The AADL is a taxing authority in the DDA’s TIF district.

Parker had attended the July 27 special meeting, and afterwards told The Chronicle that the library would be working with its legal counsel, Hooper Hathaway, in preparing a response to the DDA’s decision. AADL board member Nancy Kaplan also attended the DDA’s July 27 meeting. Then-president of Washtenaw Community College, Larry Whitworth, told The Chronicle after the DDA’s July 27 meeting that WCC was disturbed by the DDA’s decision and that the college – as one of the taxing authorities in the TIF district – would also be responding to the DDA.

By way of additional background, earlier this year – at a May 20, 2011 DDA board meeting – board members had voted to accept a method of excess TIF calculation that amounted to roughly $473,000 of excess TIF capture since 2004, to be divided among taxing authorities that have a portion of their tax revenues captured in the DDA TIF district: Washtenaw County, Washtenaw Community College, and the Ann Arbor District Library. The library’s share was about $75,000. The calculation also called for $711,767 to be returned to the city of Ann Arbor, but the Ann Arbor city council waived that repayment.

The Chronicle has published two op-ed pieces on the subject, arguing that the method the DDA used to calculate the excess TIF was not accurate: “Taxing Math Needs Another Look” and “TIF Capture is a Varsity Sport.”

This brief was immediately after adjournment of the Ann Arbor District Library board, which meets in the downtown AADL building at 343 S. Fifth Ave. A more detailed report will follow: [link]