Duties

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 development plans for the future, and promoting overall economic growth.

Management

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.

Board Members

Raymond Bell, Chair

Bell Enterprises

Treasurer – Vacant

Scott Parker, Secretary

Parker’s ACE Hardware

Marla Bunker, Board Member

War Memorial Hospital

Michelle LaJoie, Vice Chair

Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency

Les Townsend, Board Member

Island Books & Crafts

Oliver Turner, Board Member

City Manager

Allison Youngs, Board Member

Resident

Board Member – Vacant

 

Funding

           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.

              Public Parking

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.

DDA Meeting Minutes

The Downtown Development Authority meets regularly on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:00am in the second floor conference room of Avery Square, at 510 Ashmun Street.  The meetings are open to the public.

 

DDA Documents

DDA Boundary Map

DDA Boundary Map

DDA Boundary Map

Downtown Development Area Number One

Downtown Development Area Number One

Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan Number One

Sec. 18.5-31. – Development plan and tax increment financing plan, adoption.

(a)

The purpose of Ordinance No. 258-86 is to approve and adopt a development plan and a tax increment financing plan, for the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Area No. One, generally described as the Edison Sault Electric Company Power Canal on the south, Bingham Avenue and Court Street on the east, Maple/Ridge Street on the north and Osborn Boulevard on the west, and the Edison Sault Power Canal on the north, Court Street from the power canal to Easterday Avenue, Easterday Avenue from Court Street to Ashmun Street then south on Ashmun Street to Adam’s Avenue on the east and the south side of Pine Street on the west. All properties adjoining or abutting the west side of Court Street, the north side of Easterday Avenue or either side of Ashmun Street would be included in the district.

(b)

The development plan and tax increment financing plan for the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Area No. One provides that the method of financing the development is feasible, and the downtown development authority has the ability to arrange the necessary financing; that the proposed development is reasonable and necessary to carry out the purpose of the act; that the land included within the development area to be acquired is reasonably necessary to carry out the purpose of the development plan and the act in an efficient and economically satisfactory manner; that the development plan is in reasonable accord with the master plan of the city; that public services are adequate to protect the area; and that any changes in zoning, streets, street levels, intersections and utilities proposed are reasonably necessary for the development and for the city.

(c)

Improvements. Each of the improvements explained below is considered important to the welfare of downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Explanations of the general types of improvements to be constructed are followed by a detailed table which indicates the location, estimated cost, and priority level of the specific projects. The location description shows the rough area of a project, while the specific parcels to be affected are indicated on Maps 4 through 7. The estimated cost figures are based on preliminary evaluation of the proposed projects [by] the city planning and development department.

Every project is assigned to one (1) of four (4) priority levels. Projects assigned a higher priority (level one being higher than level two) are expected to be undertaken before lower priority projects are begun. Each priority level also has an estimated construction time frame. Level one corresponds to the first two (2) years of the plan, level two represents the next four (4) years, level three matches the next nine (9) years, and level four encompasses the last five (5) years of the plan. These time frames indicate when the DDA estimates the projects in the levels can be constructed.

It is recognized that circumstances may alter actual construction dates and affect the order in which projects may be undertaken. The DDA may undertake any project contained within the plan at any time regardless of the priority level when the DDA determines it is in the best interest of the plan to do so. However, no project can be added or deleted without amending the plan, nor can the life of the plan extend beyond twenty (20) years.

It is also recognized that circumstances may require some variation in the precise location of a project or improvement. Some variation in the exact location of a project or improvement is acceptable if the DDA determines that variation is still consistent with the intent of the plan.

The reason for organizing the improvements in this manner is that available financing may vary widely. While the downtown development authority considers its tax increment revenue projections for the development area to be reasonable, such figures are projected estimates only, and the actual amount of tax increment funds generated will vary from the projection to some degree. (See Area One Tax Increment Financing Plan). It is recognized that the total estimated cost of the development projects is greater than the projected revenues in the tax increment financing plan. This overrun is deliberate and reflects the possibility that the authority may receive more funds than it projected and/or actual project costs may be less than anticipated.

In the reverse case, if sufficient funds do not become available and/or costs are greater than anticipated so that all projects cannot be completed within the twenty-year life of the plan the priority level system provides that higher priority projects will be completed first.

Finally, much depends on the human side of the equation. Several of the projects outlined in this plan require the help and cooperation of citizens, businesses and property owners. Such cooperation will affect the timetable and details of the projects. The DDA shall make every effort to complete the plan as outlined, although actual circumstances may dictate otherwise. In such an event, the development plan shall be amended as necessary. (Grounds for amending the plan include: dropping a project from the development plan, adding new projects, or substantially altering the nature or the location of a project. All amendments require city commission approval.)

(d)

The duration of the plan shall be twenty (20) years from the date of the amended Ordinance No. 491-06 adopted October 16, 2006, or until such time that all planned improvements are completed, whichever comes first.

(e)

Transactions between city and authority. It is the general intent of the plan that any property acquired and improvements completed as a result of the plan will become the property of the city. The city will retain full control of all improvements unless it chooses to make arrangements with other parties. The DDA, as a public entity created by the city with its own authority to own land and other property, may elect to be the purchasing or holding party. Subsequent arrangements regarding ownership of such acquired lands and facilities may be made by the city and the DDA as may be in the best interest of both the city and the development plan. In the event there is a dispute between the city and the DDA as to ownership of property, the decision of the city commission shall prevail and be final.

(f)

The plan provides for the preparation of a base year assessment roll; the preparation of an annual captured assessment value assessment roll; establishment of a development fund; payment of tax increments to downtown development authority; for use of monies in the development fund; an annual report; downtown development authority budget; and an annual audit.

(g)

The boundaries of the plan area as defined in subsection (a) shall be developed in accordance with the amended development plan and amended tax increment finance plan adopted June 15, 2009.

(Ord. No. 258-86, 11-17-86; Ord. No. 293-88, § 1, 9-19-88; Ord. No. 373-93, 5-3-93; Ord. No. 475-04, §§ 1, 2, 4-19-04; Ord. No. 508-09, 6-15-09)

Downtown Development Area Number Two

Downtown Development Area Number Two

Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan Number Two

Sec. 18.5-36. – Development plan and tax increment financing plan, adoption.

(a)

The purpose of Ordinance No. 259-86 is to approve and adopt a development plan and a tax increment financing plan, for the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Area No. Two generally described as Maple/Ridge Street on the south, Bingham Avenue/the east edge of the Federal Building property on the east, the St. Mary’s River on the north and Osborn Boulevard on the west, excepting a residential area south of Water Street between Ashmun and Bingham and the Corps of Engineers Building.

(b)

The development plan and tax increment financing plan for the City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Area No. Two provides that the method of financing the development is feasible, and the downtown development authority has ability to arrange the necessary financing; that the proposed development is reasonable and necessary to carry out the purpose of the act; that the land included within the development area to be acquired is reasonably necessary to carry out the purpose of the development plan and the act in an efficient and economically satisfactory manner; that the development plan is in reasonable accord with the master plan of the city; that public services are adequate to protect the area; and that any changes in zoning, streets, street levels, intersections and utilities proposed are reasonably necessary for the development and for the city.

(c)

Improvements. Each of the improvements explained below is considered important to the welfare of downtown Sault Ste. Marie. Explanations of the general types of improvements to be constructed are followed by a detailed table which indicates the location, estimated cost, and priority level of the specific projects. The location description shows the rough area of a project, while the specific parcels to be affected are indicated on Maps 4 through 7. The estimated cost figures are based on preliminary evaluation of the proposed projects [by] the city planning and development department.

Every project is assigned to one (1) of four (4) priority levels. Projects assigned a higher priority (level one being higher than level two) are expected to be undertaken before lower priority projects are begun. Each priority level also has an estimated construction time frame. Level one corresponds to the first two (2) years of the plan, level two represents the next four (4) years, level three matches the next nine (9) years, and level four encompasses the last five (5) years of the plan. These time frames indicate when the DDA estimates the projects in the levels can be constructed.

It is recognized that circumstances may alter actual construction dates and affect the order in which projects may be undertaken. The DDA may undertake any project contained within the plan at any time regardless of the priority level when the DDA determines it is in the best interest of the plan to do so. However, no project can be added or deleted without amending the plan, nor can the life of the plan extend beyond twenty (20) years.

It is also recognized that circumstances may require some variation in the precise location of a project or improvement. Some variation in the exact location of a project or improvement is acceptable if the DDA determines that variation is still consistent with the intent of the plan.

The reason for organizing the improvements in this manner is that available financing may vary widely. While the downtown development authority considers its tax increment revenue projections for the development area to be reasonable, such figures are projected estimates only, and the actual amount of tax increment funds generated will vary from the projection to some degree. (See Area Two Tax Increment Financing Plan). It is recognized that the total estimated cost of the development projects is greater than the projected revenues in the tax increment financing plan. This overrun is deliberate and reflects the possibility that the authority may receive more funds than it projected and/or actual project costs may be less than anticipated.

In the reverse case, if sufficient funds do not become available and/or costs are greater than anticipated so that all projects cannot be completed within the twenty-year life of the plan the priority level system provides that higher priority projects will be completed first.

Finally, much depends on the human side of the equation. Several of the projects outlined in this plan require the help and cooperation of citizens, businesses and property owners. Such cooperation will affect the timetable and details of the projects. The DDA shall make every effort to complete the plan as outlined, although actual circumstances may dictate otherwise. In such an event, the development plan shall be amended as necessary. (Grounds for amending the plan include: dropping a project from the development plan, adding new projects, or substantially altering the nature or the location of a project. All amendments require city commission approval.)

(d)

The duration of the plan shall be twenty (20) years from the date of the amended Ordinance No. 491-06 adopted October 16, 2006, or until such time that all planned improvements are completed, whichever comes first.

(e)

Transactions between city and authority. It is the general intent of the plan that any property acquired and improvements completed as a result of the plan will become the property of the city. The city will retain full control of all improvements unless it chooses to make arrangements with other parties. The DDA, as a public entity created by the city with its own authority to own land and other property, may elect to be the purchasing or holding party. Subsequent arrangements regarding ownership of such acquired lands and facilities may be made by the city and the DDA as may be in the best interest of both the city and the development plan. In the event there is a dispute between the city and the DDA as to ownership of property, the decision of the city commission shall prevail and be final.

(f)

The plan provides for the preparation of a base year assessment roll; the preparation of an annual captured assessment value assessment roll; establishment of a development fund; payment of tax increments to downtown development authority; for use of monies in the development fund; an annual report; downtown development authority budget; and an annual audit.

(Ord. No. 259-86, 11-17-86; Ord. No. 294-88, § 1, 9-19-88; Ord. No. 374-93, 5-3-93; Ord. No. 508-09, 6-15-09)