Downtown Development Authority remains optimistic despite revenue shortages

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By Kelly Reeves
Meridian Times staff writer

The Downtown Development Authority of Meridian Township has been faced with revenue shortages due to businesses not purchasing new personal property.

The DDA focuses on Downtown Okemos.

The DDA’s Tax Increment Financing has gone down by 23% since last year, with only $37,000 currently in the bank, said Downtown Development Authority, Director Paul Brake.

“We have to skim down on spending, or eliminate things here and there for the rest of the year,” said Brake.

The DDA receives a portion of taxes from mostly businesses within the Downtown Okemos area.

“We don’t receive money from taxes from all of Meridian, only our area. It is sometimes a portion of tax increases, as well as decreases,” said Chairman Brian Dale.

Not only has Okemos been hit with the decrease in tax revenue, but the rest of Meridian, as well.

“In Meridian Township, there were decreases in property values, a rough estimate of 6%, however, because most of the property in the DDA zone is commercial, it gets affected more,” said Dale.

Because of the decrease in businesses purchasing new properties, the tax revenue has decreased, causing the DDA to be frugal in where it spend its remaining money for the year.

Despite the recent shortages, the DDA remains optimistic.

“Tax revenue will go up slightly within the following years because there is a new Belle-Tire being constructed on Grand River where a former car wash once stood, as well as a Walgreens being constructed on Okemos road which will be done in May,” said Dale.

Dale stated that there will be no tax increase for the businesses currently in downtown Okemos, and there will be definite improvements for the area once current construction finishes.

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