DDA to discharge Vogue Theatre’s promissory note

MANISTEE — The Manistee Downtown Development Authority had a full agenda to address on Wednesday, starting with the approval to discharge the Vogue Theatre’s promissory note for its $100,000 purchase price.

In a Jan. 25, letter to Tyler Leppanen, DDA executive and economic development director, Mary Russell, president of the Vogue’s 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.

Frank Greco, secretary of the Vogue’s board, said in the promissory note, guidelines say if the Vogue met certain performance measures, it would be released from its loan payments.

The balance owed by the Vogue would be reduced by $20,000 each year the theater met the criteria. Greco said reductions were made in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Today we are talking about the purchase-money loan,” said Greco. “For the fifth year, the standard was that if the Vogue held movies and other performances for 150 days for the year, $20,000 would be forgiven. Most of you know that we’ve had movies every day.”

The promissory note was secured by a purchase-money mortgage on the property. Russell said the Vogue also requested that the DDA prepare a discharge of the mortgage for recording.

The Vogue still has a separate loan for $200,000 with the DDA; the Vogue paid back $100,000 plus interest at $12,000 toward that loan in June 2016. The remaining $100,000 with no interest still has to be paid back within two years.

“We feel the Vogue’s presence has improved (Manistee),” Greco said. “We really appreciate the DDA’s help with moving the project along.”

Also on Wednesday, the DDA board discussed its schedule of events for 2018.

The DDA board received a recommendation from the Marketing and Promotions Committee to eliminate the Wine and Chocolate Walk in May and the Boos, Brews and Brats event in October, as both events were not headed with a chair, among other issues.

After plenty of discussion, the DDA board voted unanimously to keep both events on the 2018 schedule, and work toward finalizing details for both along the way.

“I think we need something for each season,” said board member Karen Goodman. “We should continue with what we have.”

On Wednesday, the Design Committee also 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 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.”

On Wedesday, the DDA board unanimously approved the proposal, and requested the committee further review its facade grant scoring criteria.

Ken Talsma, with Anderson, Tackman and Company, PLC, reviewed the DDA’s audit for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2017, on Wednesday. The DDA board unanimously approved the audit’s findings.

“The authority got to a pretty healthy place at the end of 2017,” said Talsma.

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.

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

During the meeting on Wednesday, the DDA board also unanimously approved a travel and training request for Leppanen to attend several economic development courses; and updates made to the Strategic Plan.

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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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