Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/18/13
DEALING WITH DUMPSTERS. At left are the dumpsters located in downtown Romeo's northeast quadrant. The Romeo Downtown Development Authority is looking to fund the construction of a dumpster corral to house the trash bins.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
DDA feels squeeze of
tight 2013-14 budget
by CHRIS GRAYThe Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is noticing the effects of a reduced budget in both large and small projects.
Observer Staff Writer
At its Sept. 11 meeting, the DDA discussed building a dumpster corral for the northeast quadrant of the village, but may only have $11,500 to contribute to the project.
The board also voted 3-1 to fund the Harvest Days event with $1,500. Village President, DDA liaison and DDA Secretary Mike Lee placed the dissenting vote, while DDA Treasurer Carol Humphreys and DDA Director Ted Czajka abstained. Vice-chairperson Jason Arnott and DDA Director Sandie Lorensen were not present.
The DDA adjusted its budget last month to accommodate for a $14,500 loss in tax revenue, the majority of which was from decreased property values in Bruce Township.
This became the undertone for the evening's discussions, including the construction of a corral in the northeast quadrant of downtown to house dumpsters.
Lee said there have been concerns from business owners in the quadrants, which includes food-centric outfits like Yum Yum Thai, Tony's Dining and Pamela's Catering, regarding the atmosphere and security of the dumpsters.
The dumpsters currently sit by the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce's barn. DDA Chairperson Randy Seidel said it was time for the DDA to examine the project, adding that unlocked dumpsters are liable to be used by others.
"If they're not locked I know for a fact that everything ends up in them," Seidel said.
The DDA built a dumpster corral in the southwest quadrant as part of a $185,000 project in 2010 to renovate a parking lot and alleyway. Czajka, who owns Thee Office Pub and Cookery in the quadrant, warned that corrals are nice but need to be watched.
"It's a lot of upkeep," he said. "You get certain people that don't want to cooperate."
Humphreys said the DDA's project fund has $35,500 in roll-over money. This is funding the DDA uses for expenses while waiting for tax revenues to be collected, meaning the DDA has about $11,500 to spare for downtown projects.
Lee said he would check on what property belongs to the village in the quadrant to determine the project's location. The DDA will review funding and any prior plans regarding the corral at its October meeting.
Funding for festivals
Each year, the DDA sets aside funding to contribute to downtown activities. This year's budget was set at $6,000 to support five events.
The Sixth Annual Harvest Days, presented by the Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals (MRP) Association, will be on Oct. 12. The festival features free or low-cost fall activities for families to enjoy.
Humphreys, the event's coordinator, requested $2,000 from the DDA, saying costs have gone up in putting the festival together.
"This is one of the major events happening downtown that is for the community, it's not a sales event," she said.
She said it costs about $6,000 to $7,000 for attractions like a bike raffle, food, music, pumpkin painting and scarecrow decorating. She said the bike raffle is a main area where costs are increasing.
Lee said with the DDA cutting down on items like Christmas decorations that festival budgets may need to be cut back as well, and suggested a $1,000 contribution.
Seidel said he couldn't agree to a 100 percent increase from last year's given amount, but could support a $1,500 contribution. He said the Harvest Days does give proceeds to the homeless program for Romeo Community Schools, so the money will go back into the community.
"I know we can't directly donate, but this is kind of like an inadvertent donation," he said.
The DDA's reduced budget has also affected downtown decor. With a $5,500 reduction to the decoration budget, the DDA is reviewing its winter holiday decorations.
Seidel suggested having the decoration bid packet in front of board members so they can examine it and reduce it as needed.
"We've already reduced it a little bit last year," he said.