FLINT TWP. — A full house of property owners attended public hearings on forming a Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and other economic zones,, at the Monday night township board meeting.
The township is seeking to establish a DDA as well as Corridor Improvement Authorities on Beecher and Bristol roads to improve the appearance and marketability of the township commercial districts.
Most people who spoke at the public hearing had questions about whether their taxes would be increased and some were confused about whether their property falls with the boundaries of the proposed districts.
Doug Piggott of Rowe Professional Services, a consultant who is guiding the township trough the DDA process, was on hand to help answer questions.
The proposed DDA district is roughly bounded by the core of the commercial area between Ballenger Highway, Miller Road, Linden Road and Corunna Road.
The boundaries of the proposed Bristol Road Corridor Improvement Authority generally are located along Bristol Road from Holiday Drive to Fenton Road.
Boundaries for the proposed Beecher Road Corridor Improvement Authority generally are located along Beecher Road from the township border to the east and Calkins Road to the West.
Piggott explained that a DDA’s boundaries must be contiguous so that made it necessary to form CIA’s so that those outlying commercial areas could also benefit from an economic improvement plan.
Piggott explained how Tax Increment Financing (TIF) works to fund the DDA and CIAs by capturing taxes from increased property values above the current base. Therefore, property owners will not pay higher taxes because of the DDA or CIA, he said.
Questions were asked about the powers of the DDA, the make-up of its governing board, its powers to force property owners to make improvements or to seize it through eminent domain.
Piggott said the township board is the ultimate authority on what the 9-13-member DDA can do. The township board approves its budget and its project plans.
Most people seemed reassured by Piggott’s answers to their questions. The full Q and A public hearing can be viewed on video on the township’s website at www.flinttownship.org.
Roger Shumaker, a business owner and former township supervisor, was among those who spoke against the proposed DDA. He asked that his business near the corner of Miler and Ballenger not be included in the DDA zone.
Township Police Chief George Sippert was among those who voiced concerns about affording increased township expenses, such as police staffing, if TIF captured taxes are being directed toward the DDA and CIA.
The proposed DDA and CIA’s have now entered a 60-day opt-out period to allow affected government entities such as the county to decide if they want to release their tax share. They usually support the DDA plan, Piggott said, based on his experience with other municipalities forming DDAs.
The schedule also calls for appointing a 9-13-member DDA board by mid-February, of which 51 percent must be property owners or operate businesses within the proposed district.
If all goes according to plan, township officials hope to meet with the DDA board in late February to begin review of potential DDA projects. Piggott expects to have a DDA TIF and Development Plan drafted by mid-March. Public hearings for that plan will be announced in April and held in May with a final ordinance adoption targeted for late May. Meeting that deadline would allow the DDA to begin capturing from TIF this year.