Ann Arbor DDA OKs FY 2014-15 Budgets

Budgets for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015 have been approved by the board of Ann Arbor’s downtown development authority. The DDA’s fiscal year is in sync with the city of Ann Arbor’s fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

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.

The budget includes roughly $4 million in revenue from tax increment finance (TIF) capture, with the remainder coming from the public parking system. The DDA administers the public parking system under a contract with the city of Ann Arbor.

The FY 2014 budget includes $615,000 for alternative transportation, the bulk of which is allocated for subsidizing the cost of rides taken by holders of the getDowntown program’s go!pass. It also includes $250,000 to pay for downtown police patrols, if an arrangement can be reached with the city of Ann Arbor. The budget also includes $300,000 of capital improvements that might be used for patio dining on State Street, streetscape improvements on William Street, or alley improvements near the Bell Tower Hotel.

The budget approval came at the board’s Feb. 6, 2013 meeting, two days after Ann Arbor city councilmember Stephen Kunselman told his council colleagues at their Monday meeting that he would be continuing to press for changes to the city ordinance regulating the DDA’s TIF capture and governance. The change to the way that TIF is calculated would be based on a different interpretation of the existing language in the ordinance, but would result in several hundred thousand dollars a year less in TIF capture by the DDA. It’s the same proposal Kunselman made on May 21, 2012 – as a proposed amendment to the city budget last year. On that occasion, it received just three votes on the 11-member council; however, the current composition of the council includes three new councilmembers.

At the council’s Feb. 4 meeting, Kunselman also called for changes to DDA governance, which would include term limits on board members, a prohibition against elected officials serving on the board, a requirement that any TIF expenditures outside the city DDA district boundaries need the council’s approval, and a requirement that TIF “rebates” for projects require city council approval.

The DDA board did not discuss Kunselman’s remarks in its deliberations on the budget. For additional Chronicle coverage, see: “DDA Preps Budget for Transportation, Cops.”

[.pdf of draft DDA budgets FY 2014-15] [.pdf of FY 2013 six-month financial statements] [.pdf of monthly parking reports]

This brief was filed from the DDA offices on 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]