DDA to discuss Vogue performance, promissory note

MANISTEE — The Manistee Downtown Development Authority is honing in on economic development, highlighting several issues in the downtown area during its regular meeting today.

The DDA will consider a request from the Vogue Theatre to approve a discharge of a promissory note for its $100,000 purchase price.

Currently, the Vogue has two seperate loans with the DDA, however one loan upholds guidelines that say if the Vogue met certain performance measures, it would be released from its payments.

In a Jan. 25, letter to Tyler Leppanen, DDA executive and economic development director, Mary Russell, president of the Vogue board, said the promissory note was made in 2011, when the DDA transferred the Vogue building to the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee, a nonprofit organization.

Under the agreement, the balance owed by the Vogue would be reduced by $20,000 each year the theater met the criteria, thus leaving a balance of zero.

Russell stated that reductions were made in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. For the fifth, and final year, the standard for the reduction required that the Vogue presented movies or other performances on at least 150 days during 2017.

“During 2017, the Vogue screened movies on each day of the year, obviously meeting the performance requirement,” stated Russell. “I am requesting that the DDA board acknowledge the Vogue’s having met the 2017 performance standard and reduce the balance…”

The promissory note was secured by a purchase-money mortgage on the property. Russell said the 2017 balance reduction would satisfy the Vogue’s obligation under the promissory note; with that, the Vogue requests the DDA prepare a discharge of the mortgage for recording.

Also during the meeting today, the Design Committee recommended the DDA change the facade grant application period to make it easier for property owners to comply with requirements and budgeting.

In an email to the DDA board, Leppanen stated the applications are currently due by May 5. The Design Committee’s proposal is to have a facade grant balance sheet item, which would carry unused funds to the next year.

“Applications would be accepted throughout the year and on a first come, first serve basis as long as the application follows the standard scoring process,” Leppanen said, in the email. “This would allow more flexibility in the program, and run into less conflicts with the Historic District Commission approving applications.”

The DDA will also discuss its schedule of events for 2018, including the Wine and Chocolate Walk in May; Hops and Props on the River in September; TGIF events in June and August; Boos, Brews and Brats in October; and other events during the holidays.

Many details are in need of confirmation, and chairs for the events are still outstanding.

An audit with Anderson, Tackman and Company, PLC, for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2017, will be presented to the DDA board today, as well. The DDA board can review and accept the audit findings.

Within the financial highlights of the report, the assets of the DDA exceeded its liabilities at the close of this fiscal year by $416,180, marking a $75,292 increase from the previous fiscal year. Of this amount, $416,180 — unrestricted net position — is available to meet the government’s duty to its citizens and creditors.

During the fiscal year, the DDA also received $386,819 in revenues and incurred $332,778 in expenses. This resulted in an increased net position of $54,041.

At the end of the current fiscal year, the general fund’s unassigned fund balance was at $212,453, which is 64 percent of its total expenditures.

Today, the DDA’s agenda also features the following items:

  • A travel and training request for Leppanen to attend several economic development courses;
  • Updates to the Strategic Plan;
  • Review of the DDA’s ability to address blighted properties;
  • A memo from Rachel Brooks, DDA chair, on discussions with the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce on economic development in the city;
  • Proposals for bookkeeping and accounting services for the DDA; and
  • Leppanen’s director report, highlighting recent business discussions in the downtown area and other updates with the DDA.

The meeting will be held at noon today in the council chambers at City Hall.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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