Midland City Council approves special assessment district for downtown businesses

MIDLAND — City Council renewed a downtown special assessment district at its Monday meeting.

The Council met to discuss several items related to the economy and the budget. These included the Special Assessment for Downtown Events and the upcoming Community Development Block Grant.

The council held a public hearing to determine the need for the “2022 Downtown Economic Revitalization Public Improvement Special Assessment District” as provided for in the Commercial Areas Redevelopment Act (SARA). This program offers $90,000, or $45,000 per year, to be billed districtwide to downtown property owners between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023, said Selina Tisdale, director of community affairs for the city.

She said the special assessment was needed to fund downtown events such as Mini Golf on the Main, National Small Business Day and Holly Jolly Days, as well as staff support and street lighting. holidays. This special assessment was established in 1994.

A downtown financial advisory firm sent in a written objection to the special assessment. Council member Steve Arnosky said while these events are great for visitors and the community, he understands the nature of the objection. He said he’s not sure these events are equally important to all downtown businesses.

“Events are great, but how do you pay? It feels like you arm people a little bit if they have a business,” Arnosky said.

Mayor Maureen Donker said homeowners reap the benefits of locating their businesses downtown.

“Sometimes you choose to be in a downtown area because it brings things to you,” Donker said. “I understand that (objection), but I think we have a lot of office space, so if you choose office space, you can choose another part of town.”

The special assessment was approved by a vote of 5-0.

The Board also voted the 2022-23 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) budget and its 2022-23 action plan. CDBG aims to provide a cooperative public and private environment for community development and housing initiatives to meet the needs of people from all socio-economic groups in the city, said the Director of Planning and Community Development, Grant Murschel.

The budget items are listed below:

  • General planning and administration ($46,000)
  • Acquisition of vacant property by Habitat for Humanity ($30,000)
  • Home-to-home accessibility modifications and mobile home repairs ($15,000)
  • Habitat for Humanity Home Repair ($60,000)
  • Washington Woods Lock Replacement ($57,000)
  • Washington Woods Steam Table Replacement ($10,000)
  • Washington Woods Stove Replacement ($15,000)
  • Cleveland Manor Downspout and Gutter Installation ($40,000)
  • Michigan Fair Housing Testing Legal Services ($4,500)
  • Central Park Improvements Deferral ($156,399)
  • Cleveland Park Improvements ($11,500)
  • Provident ($5,000)

There will be changes to the CDBG Coronavirus Relief and CDBG Declared Disaster Recovery budgets last year, Murschel said.

The council approved the budget by a 5-0 vote and authorized the mayor and city clerk to sign the associated sub-recipient agreements.

Other Board Business:

  • Council heard the second reading of the city’s landfill fee increases and approved them by a 5-0 vote.
  • Council approved the installation of a pedestrian handrail along the pathway behind Riverside Place in a 5-0 vote. The project will cost $40,000.
  • The Council held a public hearing for the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, but no public comment was made.

David H. Henry