The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Downtown Development Authority was established on February 18th, 1980, pursuant to the State of Michigan’s Act 197 of the Public Acts of 1975. In creating the Authority, the city of Sault Ste. Marie recognized the dangers posed by a declining downtown area, and took the first steps in correcting them. The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority is tasked with correcting and preventing deterioration in the downtown business district, encouraging historic preservation, implementing developm1ent plans for the future, and promoting overall economic growth.
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority is managed by a board of directors, which is required by Act 197 to be composed of not less than eight or more than twelve members approved by the City Commission. One board position must be held by the city manager, one board position must be a held by a downtown resident, and the majority of board members must have an interest in property located in the downtown district.
Raymond Bell, Chair Bell Enterprises
Michelle LaJoie, Vice Chair Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency
Allison Youngs, Treasurer Downtown Resident
Scott Parker, Secretary Parker’s ACE Hardware
Danna Sanderson Leitz Sports Center
Debbie Jones, Board Member Chippewa County Community Foundation
Marla Bunker, Board Member War Memorial Hospital
Les Townsend, Board Member Island Books & Crafts
Oliver Turner, Board Member City Manager
Main Street Commitee
Debbie Jones, Chair
Justin Knepper, DDA Staff
Allison Youngs, Chair
Lindsay Ellis, DDA Staff
Mary Jo DuVall
Joshua Billington, Chair
Tax Increment Finance
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority oversees two “Tax Increment Finance” authorities (TIFA), which are areas within the Downtown Development Authority’s geographic boundaries selected for development. The development plans for both tax increment finance authorities outline projects recommended by the Downtown Development Authority. Both tax increment finance authorities generate revenues for downtown projects by capturing tax revenues based on the incremental increase of downtown property values over time. It is important to note that this procedure does not increase taxes in any way. Also, no other taxing body ever loses tax revenue. Other taxing bodies simply do not realize the increase in tax revenue generated by tax increment finance authority improvements. In other words, the Downtown Development Authority ensures that increases in downtown tax revenues stay sharply focused on the incredibly important downtown district.
Principal Shopping District
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority also manages a “Principal Shopping District,” pursuant to the state of Michigan’s Act 120 of 1961. Sault Ste. Marie’s Principal Shopping District is within the Downtown Development Authority’s geographic boundaries, and allows the Downtown Development Authority to undertake tasks such as conducting market research and public relations campaigns, developing, coordinating and conducting retail and institutional promotions, and sponsoring special events and related activities. Sault Ste. Marie’s Principal Shopping District is funded by a two mil assessment levied on properties within the geographic district. This is equivalent to two one-thousandths of a cent per dollar of assessed value. For example, if a property was worth $50,000, the two mil assessment would generate $100 for the Principal Shopping District each year.
Finally, the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority oversees revenues and expenses related to all public surface parking downtown, as well as all revenues and expenses associated with the downtown parking garage. Please visit here for more information.