DDA reviews two policies, tables vote for loan request

MANISTEE — The Manistee Downtown Development Authority had a discussion on two policies and held the annual election of officers on Wednesday.

Board member T. Eftaxiadis was not present. Barry Lind, who serves as vice chair, will rejoin the board when his membership renews next month and was not active at this meeting.

On Wednesday, board members reviewed a policy on standing committees within the DDA, as many requested a discussion on the future of these committees.

Tyler Leppanen, DDA executive and economic development director, said past discussions indicated a change in reporting and delegation of tasks within the committees, and the overall structure.

Rachel Brooks, chair, said this has been a discussion for awhile.

“Over the last few months there’s been some concerns with the committees,” said Brooks.

Standing committees currently include the Design committee, Redevelopment committee, Business Development committee, and Marketing and Promotions committee.

Karen Goodman, DDA board member, asked how often these policies are reviewed. Leppanen indicated there is no set process to regularly update policies, rather the bylaws were recently updated.

Committees are typically reviewed at the annual Strategic Planning Meeting. Todd Mohr, board member, said one of the issues with the current committee structure is the delegation of specific tasks.

“I am just wondering if we have a duplication of efforts,” said Mohr. “I think it’d be more efficient if we consolidate.”

“I have found the Business Development committee to be very effective,” Valerie Bergstrom, board treasurer, indicated when speaking on behalf of her standing committee. She said the committee, however, could use a review.

All members voted on a temporary solution to Policy 13; however, Leppanen said updates to the policy would need to occur in the future.

The DDA board members reviewed and unanimously approved Policy 15, which states the DDA board must maintain a minimum of 20 percent of the next year’s fiscal budgeted revenues as a fund balance.

It further states in the document that “the DDA board will use (a) separate banking account to hold designated funds; for example, Land Acquisition funds, Facade Grant funds, Revolving Loan funds and Downtown Dollars.”

“For governmental entities 20 percent is the standard,” said Lind, during the meeting.

Also, the election of officers took place with chairperson, vice chairperson, treasurer and secretary up for grabs.

Brooks was voted to continue her position as chair, and Bergstrom will continue as treasurer. However, the board tabled a vote on secretary and vice chair, as two members were not able to join.

Bergstrom currently takes on both treasurer and secretary.

Also on Wednesday, a Revolving Loan for Manistee Bridal at $4,500 was tabled for a future meeting. Manistee Bridal opened downtown in the spring.

“Usually I am all in favor for giving businesses a loan, this one I am just a little skeptical,” said Brooks.

After plenty of discussion, the board requested additional information on the use and security of the loan, before an official vote is made.

Finally, the DDA board approved a budget amendment request from the Business Development committee for Spark Manistee. Spark Manistee requested $1,000 to aid costs of the venue, refreshments and other details for the competition set for Sept. 15.

“We need additional cash to be able to pull off the event, in which we think will be an annual event,” said Bergstrom.

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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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