Video: Ypsilanti Downtown DDA Nov 20, 2008

November 22, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Video

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority met on Thursday, November 20th. Peter Rinehart was elected to his third term as chairman of the board and John Coleman was elected vice-Chair.

DDA Director Brian Vosburg pushed for board members to take on the role as Treasurer and Secretary. Vosburg said the secretary would take on responsibility for getting board packets and minutes out per state law. The treasurer would each month with the city finance department to put together the financial reports for board review. These are tasks that have traditionally been done by the last four DDA Directors.

Vosburg has been criticized in the past by the DDA board and downtown business owners for late and last minute board packets. The DDA approved the hiring of a part-time recording secretary to take meeting minutes. The taking of notes was a task done by the previous DDA directors. The DDA also approved the hiring of interns to also ease Vosburg’s workload so calls would be answered at the office

Vosburg did not say during the meeting what he would do with his extra time if he didn’t have to be responsible for financial reports and board packets.

The board would have none of that and unanimously elected Vosburg as Secretary and Treasurer.

The DDA approved moving the DDA office to the second floor of the Jacobsen Daniels building at the corner of N. Washington and Pearl. The DDA office had, for over 10 years, been located on the first floor

The DDA Director Vosburg looked at office space at City Hall and the Centennial Building (former Huron Hotel). While the office at the Jacobsen Daniels building was the msot expensive option, that was the location Vosburg recommended.

It was somewhat surprising that the DDA director didn’t consider other office space in the downtown district. The GAR building on Pearl St (across the street from Congdon’s Ace Hardware) would have met the desire to have first floor visibility and the Key Bank building would have had cheaper office space than what was finally approved.

Darryl Daniels, current vice-Chair of the DDA and owner of the Jacobsen Daniel building, abstained from the discussion or the vote on the selection of new office space.

The DDA also approved the expenditure of $8,000 for Christmas lights which should be installed by the second week in December. The DDA had approved $5,000 for lighting this year. Rinehart said they we would be slightly over budget if they approved $8,000. Actually it is 60% over budget which would be hard to charcterize as a slight overage.

The DDA also discussed the approval of no-bid contracts by the DDA Director. Vosburg said the Director was authorized by the City Council to expend up to $20,000 without requiring a competitive bid. This is the second time in two days that Vosburg has said the City Council had granted him specific authority failing to realize it is the DDA and not the City Council that hires the DDA director.

Vosburg had come under fire the day before at the Depot Town DDA meeting when he told the DTDDA board the City Council had appointed him as the SEMCOG representative for transportation. The chair of the DTDDA, Dave Wheeler, admonished Vosburg reminding him that he did not work for the City Council and that the DTDDA would appoint the representative to the SEMCOG transportation working group to represent the interests of the DTDDA.

The DDA has in the past required the director to secure bids for services and to look inside the city for businesses that could provide goods and services before looking outside. Moreover, the DDA board never granted the DDA Director a $20,000 window for expenditures without approval of the board or without requiring competitive bids.

The DDA board asked that the issue of the DDA Director obligating the DDA to contracts, spending limits, and competitive bids should be a discussion item for the December meeting.

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