DDA-City Committee Established

The Ann Arbor city council has established a four-member committee to sort through issues between the city and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The council action came at its July 1, 2013 meeting. The DDA board is expected to establish counterparts at its July 3 monthly meeting.

The council will be represented by Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Sally Petersen (Ward 2),  Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Jane Lumm (Ward 2). Lumm’s name was added to the mix during the council’s meeting.

The current source of friction between the DDA and the city concerns the interpretation of Chapter 7 of the city code, which regulates the DDA’s tax increment finance (TIF) capture. The DDA has chosen to interpret the Chapter 7 language in a way that does not recognize the cap on TIF revenues that is set forth in Chapter 7. That led to a proposal by some councilmembers earlier this year to revise the ordinance so that the DDA’s alternate interpretation is clearly ruled out. The council gave the ordinance change initial approval on April 1, 2013. But later, on May 6, 2013, the council chose to postpone the vote until Sept. 3, the council’s first meeting that month.

In the memo accompanying the council’s July 1 resolution, the group – which was described as a “mutually beneficial” committee – is tasked with coming up with a recommendation for Chapter 7 revised language with a deadline of Sept. 2. During the meeting, the name of the committee was changed from “mutually beneficial” to simply a “joint DDA-council committee.”

The phrase “mutually beneficial” in connection with the sorting out of issues between the city of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor DDA was first mooted in a Jan. 20, 2009 resolution. The main issue at that time was the contract under which the DDA administers the city’s public parking system. Subsequently, committees for both organizations were appointed, but they did not achieve any results. The following year, new “mutually beneficial” committees were appointed and those committees met over the course of several months, culminating in a new parking agreement ratified in May 2011. The council formally disbanded its “mutually beneficial” committee at the end of 2011.

Responding to an emailed query from The Chronicle, current DDA board chair Leah Gunn indicated she would wait until the council passed its resolution before making public the names of the DDA board counterparts.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]