DDA could be coming to downtown St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 9, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — In an effort to pay for events and improvements to downtown St. Clair Shores, the 9-Mack Merchants Association and city of St. Clair Shores are discussing the formation of a downtown development authority in the area.

City Manager Matthew Coppler said the matter has been in discussion for approximately two years but now is getting closer to coming to fruition.

Like a tax-increment finance authority, which is in place along the Nautical Mile, Coppler said a DDA would need to establish a board, which would make decisions as to whether to capture incremental increases in taxes on the properties within its boundaries, to operate with an additional millage levied on the properties, or both. At the moment, organizers are looking at assessing a 2 mill levy to fund the DDA.

The boundary area is proposed to encompass the downtown area of St. Clair Shores, including the area bordered by Cavalier Drive, 9-Mack Drive and Nine Mile Road. It would extend east on Nine Mile Road to include commercial properties up to 22646 Nine Mile Road and the former St. Mary’s Nursing Home, along with the commercial properties at Greater Mack Avenue and Glen Court, then west of Greater Mack to include the commercial properties bordering Nine Mile Road to approximately Pare Street.

City officials were trying to avoid adding any single-family residential properties to the DDA boundary area.

“If it includes residents, their taxes go up,” said Councilwoman Candice Rusie at an Aug. 30 study session of City Council. “I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes.”

The formal process will begin this fall when the City Council sets the date of a public hearing.

“Once you have the public hearing, the governing body has to lay out a resolution that also explains what the boundaries are, what the taxes are going to be,” explained Coppler at the meeting. He said an order establishing the DDA would need to be adopted 60 days after the public hearing.

St. Clair Shores has been working with Carlisle Wortman Associates to develop the legal documents to establish the DDA. City Attorney Robert Ihrie told council members that, although the city was fronting the $15,000 to pay to establish the DDA, that money could be reimbursed with money collected by the DDA.

Rusie said she wanted to make sure all businesses that would be included in the DDA had been given notice that such a proposal was being discussed.

“I just wanted to make sure that we heard from everyone, even before the official hearing, because by the time that rolls around, sometimes people feel like it’s a done deal,” she said.

The public hearing is set to be scheduled for the fall.

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