After the 2016 election and the failure of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) mill levy tax increase ballot question, the DDA Board and staff conducted a review and surveyed voters within the District. They concluded that one reason the ballot question failed to pass was because residential property owners within the DDA could see no benefit in approving the tax increase. They also realized, in looking at the DDA’s long-term development and redevelopment plans, that the residential properties would not likely be a significant component of development in the downtown corridor.
This led the DDA to recommend that certain residential neighborhoods that (1) are not currently included in the DDA plan of development, (2) are separated from the core downtown area by physical impediments, and (3) are comprised of neighborhoods that are not integrated into the DDA and do not have the same degree of contiguity to the commercial areas of the DDA, be removed from the DDA boundaries.
As of May 16, the City Council has approved an ordinance to remove approximately 107 residential properties from the DDA boundaries. This will allow the DDA to move forward with another election this fall, at which time it will ask property owners within the new boundaries to give it permission to issue debt and pay for future improvements using future tax increment revenue generated by development within the DDA. Some observers have accused the DDA of rigging the boundaries to ensure passage of the ballot question, but that isn’t fair. The DDA will still have to convince affected voters that there is a good reason to approve the measure and increase their taxes.