After reading last week’s article in the Rockford Squire, I thought it would be helpful to provide additional information on the City’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the proposal to extend the term of the DDA for an additional thirty (30) years. As reported in the Squire the original DDA was formed in 1984. At the time a DDA is created, a base SEV is established, which represents the assessed value of all properties within the district. At the time Rockford’s DDA District was established, the total value was $2,679,400. The taxes generated from this value continue to go to the various taxing jurisdictions such as the County, Community College, Intermediate School District, Kent District Library and the City. Over time, as the value of the district increases, the new taxes generated above the base value are “captured” by the DDA and reinvested within the District, according to the Development Plan. Through this mechanism the taxes paid by the business/property owners within the District are reinvested in the form of capital projects to improve the overall business climate within the District. In my opinion, DDAs are one of the most effective economic development tools a small community has at its disposal. Overtime as the City and DDA continues to make public improvements within the District, private investment also accelerates. We have seen over the years the wonderful investment our business owners have made throughout the downtown area. This public/private partnership only serves to continue investment throughout the entire district. The chart below identifies the various taxing jurisdictions that are subject to capture within the DDA. Through this capture, the DDA collects approximately $192,000 for reinvestment within the District. Of the $192,000, shown in the chart, the City of Rockford is the largest capture of over $110,000. It is important to note that the City does not capture taxes from the Rockford Public Schools either for debt, operations or their special recreation millage. Of this capture, approximately $95,000 goes towards paying off the downtown streetscape bond issue, with another $25,000 going each year towards the Peppler Park Renovation project. The City and DDA are also splitting the cost of the Northland Pontiac purchase and renovation to the parking lots. The remaining money, about $60,000 per year is reinvested into the District in the form of banners, benches, parking lot and street repairs, park improvements, sound system expansions, etc.
The DDA is currently in the process of writing a new Development and Financing Plan for the next thirty (30) years. The Plan is very ambitious and will allow the City to continue the wonderful public offerings that we all enjoy throughout the DDA. Through the DDA, the City and business community has been able to provide a one of a kind downtown that is enjoyed by residents and visitors throughout the seasons. I hope this information is useful to the readers of the Rockford Squire and please feel free to contact me should you have any additional questions either via email at email@example.com or through my blog at our City’s website at www.rockford.mi.us.