GR DDA Welcomes Stronger Partnership with Kent County

The GR DDA (Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority) Executive Director Kristopher Larson today issued the following statement in response to the Kent County Board of Commissioner's decision to fully participate in the DDA District:

We are sincerely appreciative and thankful for the Kent County Board's action today approving an agreement that establishes a new era of collaboration between the County and the DDA.

The Board's action strengthens the County-DDA partnership at a time of significant opportunity and change for Downtown Grand Rapids and the broader Kent County community.

The Grand Rapids City Commission's approval of the DDA's new finance plan set the stage for the County action.

The County Board's approval is an important step toward working more closely together to promote our shared aim of continually enhancing West Michigan's economy and quality of life.

Importantly, the new County-DDA agreement also advances two new good government practices:

  • Sharing the value. The DDA's "gainsharing" program provides annual financial rebates to taxing jurisdictions that partner in improving and growing Downtown. Kent County will receive gain share rebates totaling an estimated $10.4 million over the 30-year term of the new County-DDA agreement.
  • Eliminating special millage capture. Under the new agreement, the DDA will forego the capture of certain "special" voter-approved property taxes, including the Kent County millages for seniors, veterans and any special millages approved after November 7, 2016, including the recent zoo and museum millage. This new mechanism takes full effect when the DDA retires the debt on the Van Andel Arena in 2024. This will result in an estimated additional $3.9 million and $390,000 revenue specifically for senior and veteran's services, respectively, over the 30-year term of the new County-DDA agreement.

The DDA Board and staff is hopeful these good government innovations serve as a new model to inform the ongoing conversations about DDA reform in Kent County and the State of Michigan.