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Posted: 01/02/13

DDA aims to be fiscally
conservative in 2013

Observer Staff Writer
      Tight budgeting and mapping out a plan for downtown projects is on the agenda for the Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in 2013.
       Village President, DDA Secretary and DDA Liaison Mike Lee said the DDA needs to concentrate on being fiscally responsible in the coming year due to revenue losses.
       "We have to make sure we worry about the residents first and the property owners downtown and move forward without eliminating anything, and that's going to be tough," he said.
       He said he would like to see the DDA pursue other sources of revenue, but it is an unlikely goal due to the amount of other governments looking for extra revenue.
       In addition, since the DDA is a faction of village government, he said it will also suffer revenue loss from changes in personal property tax laws.
       The changes would phase out taxes on Michigan manufacturers and other businesses. The plan does not guarantee 100 percent replacement of the lost revenue for municipalities.
       "I personally don't think it's a great idea because it's going to hurt us, Romeo, the worst," he said.
       The DDA is also dealing with a consent judgment on its Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue. In 2011, the DDA contested a moratorium the village placed on its TIF funding, resulting in an agreement that has it paying the village back its portion of TIF funding.
       The settlement did, however, determine that the village would pay the DDA $11,500 a year over a 10-year period to return $115,231 in prior TIF funding.
       Planning projects
       Lee said one goal for 2013 is to have the DDA sort out what projects it hopes to accomplish from its Romeo Blueprints document. He said the DDA intends to tackle the 50-plus page document in January, looking at projects such as installing a kiosk in downtown Romeo.
       "I'd like to do at least one little project a year," he said.
       Lee said one issue the DDA is aiming to straighten out is to align all of its service contracts. He said the hope is that all bids the DDA handles, such as contracting for watering flowers, can all be handled in one calendar year.
       The DDA is also seeking a new part-time executive director. At its December meeting, the DDA board decided it would fill the position by Feb. 1, 2013. The former director left the position in November, with Lee taking on some of the director's roles and responsibilities in the interim.
       The executive director position handles day-to-day operations and communications for the DDA, and does not possess voting powers on the DDA board.

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