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City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

DDA to dip into reserves due to previous budgeting

A graph showing revenues collected by the DDA. The dark blue on top shows the total millage capture, followed by purple, showing West Cross TIF; green, showing Depot Town TIF; red, showing downtown TIF; and light-blue, showing total TIF reserves. Photo by courtesy of Ypsilanti DDA

A graph showing revenues collected by the DDA. The dark blue on top shows the total millage capture, followed by purple, showing West Cross TIF; green, showing Depot Town TIF; red, showing downtown TIF; and light-blue, showing total TIF reserves.

Accounts to be adjusted to fix problem in future years

By Dan DuChene
Apr. 14, 2010    ·    6:54 a.m.

In order to present a balanced budget, the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority will be transferring money from its fund balance to cover expenses.

The problem, located in one of its several budgets, has been located and will be remedied in future years so the costs of the organization can be covered by the revenue the DDA generates without having to dip into its reserves.

According to René Greff, a member of the DDA board, the operations budget—used from millage dollars to go toward costs such as rent, office supplies and legal fees—has been covering the cost for the director's salary. This caused a deficit of $42,054 dollars in this account in last year's budget that will be carried over this year.

Greff said this budgeting had caused the DDA, year after year, to dip into its reserves to cover this expense in the operations budget.

In future budgets, the group plans to budget this into its Tax Increment Financing budget—used to pay for bond commitments and projects—to cover the cost.

To cover this shortfall in the operations budget this year, the group intends to pull the money needed from the downtown district's TIF fund balance. The downtown TIF fund balance is currently worth $339,665.

Next year, the DDA has budgeted in a $60,000 director's salary and still has revenues over expenses by more than $160,000 in its total TIF budget. Greff said this move should create a balanced budget for future years without having to shift money around the group's accounts.

The DDA board manages three DDA districts, which each have their own TIF and operations budgets that have to be spent its own district accordingly. The three districts are downtown, Depot Town and West Cross Street.

Greff said all the other budgets inside the DDA look healthy, with revenue exceeding expense in both operations and TIF budgets in every district, aside from the previously mentioned downtown operations budget. In next year's budget, the DDA expects to have a total operational fund balance of $57,049 and a total TIF fund balance of $531,288. It anticipates total revenue exceeding total costs by approximately $114,000.

Next year, the group plans to spend $5,000 on seasonal flower planting, $3,000 on way-finding, $5,000 on Web site development, $10,000 on holiday lighting and $30,000 on a parking study.

Additionally, to hone in spending, the DDA plans to lower each of the four committee discretionary budgets by $500 each. This would put each committee's budget at $2,000 and save the same amount, $2,000, in total.

The DDA board will be discussing the budget at its meeting Thursday morning and expects to present a final budget to City Council next month.

The Rocket

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