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Tag Archive | "Downtown Development Authority"

City Council to hold public hearing on DDA TIF plan tonight


A map of the proposed DDA TIF district.

The Cedar Springs City Council will hold a public hearing and also vote on the 2017 Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan at their December meeting tonight, Thursday, December 14, at 7 p.m.

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

City Manager Mike Womack explained that a TIF plan does not raise your taxes—it simply captures a portion of them and reallocates them to the DDA for reinvestment back into the community. We asked him if he could explain to readers how it works.

“City Hall has been approached by citizens with questions regarding the 2017 Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) development plan which City Hall has been working to finalize by the end of 2017. Tax Increment Financing can be complicated to understand but it is an important tool in promoting economic development in the downtown core of the City. It is important for businesses and citizens to understand how a TIF works and how the DDA can use the TIF to improve the City for everybody.”

He went on to explain:

“The DDA is a board of citizens and business owners with a vested interest in improving the identified TIF district. A TIF district is an area within a city that, broadly speaking, would benefit from reinvestment of money to promote the economic growth of that area. The development plan guides the DDA board in how to invest the TIF money doing things like creating new parking areas, renovating derelict properties or marketing the City to visitors.

“So once a city identifies a part of the City that meets the criteria and would benefit from a TIF, how does it work? A TIF district essentially reallocates funds from property taxes to encourage investment within the district. An important thing for property owners within the TIF district to understand is that their property tax rates do not automatically go up with the creation of a TIF.   

“The way TIFs shift funds around to encourage development is by freezing the allocations to various taxing bodies (e.g. City, County etc.) at their levels as of the start of the TIF. For the life of the TIF (typically a maximum of 20 years), the amount received by these taxing bodies from property taxes collected within the TIF will remain constant. Any increased tax revenues collected as a result of an increase in property values then go into the TIF fund and can be used by the DDA board for a wide range of purposes identified in the TIF Plan.

“Here is an example of a hypothetical TIF to demonstrate how the process works: A city decides that an area is in need of redevelopment, usually a downtown area. The City Council reviews the proposal and determines that the area would benefit from TIF reinvestment. Property tax rates are not affected by the TIF. At the beginning of the TIF, the aggregate property value of all land in the TIF is $1,000,000, and annual property tax revenue is $40,000. This $40,000 is split between a handful of taxing bodies such as the City and the County. After the TIF is created, the taxing bodies know that they will continue to receive that $40,000 per year for the life of the TIF. Perhaps after a couple years, property values within the TIF increase to $1,100,000, which leads to annual tax revenues of $44,000. This extra $4,000, instead of being distributed to the taxing bodies, is deposited in the TIF fund for the DDA to use to reinvest in the TIF area. That investment, in turn, leads to increased private business development, which leads to increased property values and more TIF income and reinvestment by the DDA.  

“Clearly, TIF districts are powerful tools available to a city that can often be complicated and are occasionally misunderstood. When used properly, however, a TIF can revitalize a community.”

Under the city’s plan, the improvements within the development area will consist of storm sewers, resurfacing existing streets, parking lots and alleyways, creating new off street parking, lighting improvements, landscaping, and property acquisition for further improvements as needed.

DDA revenue in the first year of the plan is estimated at $17,743, with an increase each year thereafter, based on growth percentages of 2-3 percent. In total, the DDA is projected to generate $1,394,405.57 in tax increment revenue over the 20-year term of the plan.

The city’s proposed 2017 DDA TIF plan can be found online at http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/11-20-17-DDA-TIF-PLAN-packet.pdf. You can email questions to the city manager at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org.

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Christmas lights are back in town


Downtown Cedar Springs is looking more festive and cheery than it has looked in the past decade, thanks to a partnership between the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Authority, and the City of Cedar Springs.

According to Perry Hopkins, who is chairman of the DDA, president of the Chamber, and sits on the City Council, it’s been at least 10 years since the trees lining Main Street were decorated with lights. “They haven’t had them since I opened my business here,” remarked Hopkins, who owns Perry’s Place llc for teas and more. 

Hopkins said that both old and new businesses were asking, “Why don’t you bring back the small-town Christmas charm this town used to have?” 

Hopkins explained that Mayor Gerald Hall offered to string the lights and hook up the needed accessories if the Chamber could get sponsors to raise the money, and several businesses chipped in to make it possible. The City Council then voted to pay for the electricity.

The Cedar Springs DPW plugged the lights in on Monday and they now come on at dark with the street lights. 

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CBDT Grand Gala a huge success


Photo by Heather Ross

Photo by Heather Ross

Saturday, April 15, marked the date of the second Community Building Development Team (CBDT) Grand Gala. The event, which packed the American Legion to capacity, was titled “Celebrating a Great Beginning.” Kurt Mabie and Nick Andres, CBDT board members, served as host speakers for the evening, presenting their personal and factual summary of the community’s new facilities and enhancements over the last couple years. The new Cedar Springs Community Library, scheduled to open its doors on Monday, May 8, with a Grand Opening Saturday, May 13, was at the top of the celebratory moments. A new library has been on the hearts of many for over 25 years.

Mabie read a note from Karen Andersen-Meier outlining how she may not live here now but her heart will always be in Cedar Springs. She also added she believed her parents in Heaven, Neils and Edna Andersen, both avid readers and users of the library, would be smiling from ear to ear. Mabie cited not only the Andersens, but many folks such as Mike and Alice Holton and Ronny Merlington, who aren’t here today but had faithfully worked for this new library.

“They and many others helped pave the way to bring about this library. Now it is our generation’s turn to keep things going for future generations to enjoy,” explained Mabie. “The library, additional park properties along Cedar Creek, a metal sculpture, walking bridge, and clock tower are just the beginning of some of the enhancements planned for the area now called The Heart of Cedar Springs.”

Andres pointed out $118,000 had been donated directly to the library by a long list of individuals, organizations, and businesses in just the past 18 months. This, in addition to over $650,000 previously raised by the library and the $1.14 million raised by the CBDT, allowed for the paid-in-full completion of the library. “This is a significant amount of money from a small community given for the purpose of enhanced public facilities,” explained Andres.

Mabie pointed out the significance of gaining a partnership with the North Country Trail (NCT) officials who agreed to reroute the trail through Cedar Springs and connect with Algoma Township. The North Country trail is the longest walking path in America. Cedar Springs will be working toward “Trail Town” status in the near future.

“The CBDT’s purpose has always been to support existing organizations and governmental entities in achieving their goals. It brings us all great joy to see folks working together within our community and helping each other make Cedar Springs an even better place to live, work, and play,” explained Mabie.

Many groups have become reenergized and are moving forward. The Downtown Development Authority is reviewing ways to enhance the downtown area, the Fire and Rescue Department has blueprints for a new facility, and the American Legion is working on a Veteran’s Memorial around the clock tower and/or at the existing Veteran’s Memorial area west of Main Street to mention only a few.

The CBDT’s Phase I still includes an amphitheatre, board walk, Veteran’s Memorial, additional walking bridge over the creek, and rain gardens/learning stations. Depending on funds that come available, it is hoped these projects can be completed by this fall. Phase II would focus on a Community Center with opportunities for community gatherings and celebrations for up to 500 people. Phase III includes a Community Recreation center and rustic campsite along the White Pine Trail. A three-year pledge card was distributed to gala attendees for those wishing to support the CBDT’s future projects. To date, almost $35,000 has been pledged.

The CBDT meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the new Community Library gathering room. More information is available on the CBDT website of CSCommunityCenter.org, Facebook page of Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team or contact Sue Wolfe 696.2246.

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