Some communities in Washtenaw County are the impetus for a House bill that would allow two or more municipalities to enter into a corridor improvement authority (CIA) together, but some areas of west Oakland County — when the economic conditions are more favorable — could also stand to benefit if the proposal is enacted. Lawmakers in Lansing should greet this bipartisan effort with a warm reception and give it their blessing.
House Bill (HB) 5142, which has been referred to the House Local, Intergovernmental, and Regional Affairs Committee, was introduced on Nov. 1 to allow two or more cities, villages or townships to create a CIA.
The governing bodies of the two or more communities would have to approve resolutions to declare their intent to enter into such an agreement. The joint CIA would be overseen by three members appointed by the city or village council or township board. Those three members would serve two-year, three-year, and four-year terms.
A CIA is similar to a downtown development authority (DDA). While can be funded in part through tax increment financing (TIF), the corridor improvement authority is required to be established along a main traffic artery, whereas a DDA has a district which doesn’t have to be located along a specific corridor.
TIF helps pay for redevelopment and community improvement projects through the capture of tax revenues within a defined district from consenting local and county taxing authorities. This secures tax revenues from property improvements and assessment increases above a base taxable value for use on projects in the authority district.
While current economic conditions would likely limit any TIF dollars a joint CIA would receive, allowing two or more communities, if they so choose, to enter into a collaborative effort to improve a corridor that runs through multiple jurisdictions is a sound idea. We don’t suspect many would be willing to take such a gamble at this point, but it doesn’t hurt to give communities the option to do so — now or in the future, when property values rebound.
White Lake Township considered implementing a CIA a few years back, and Waterford Township currently has a CIA that isn’t doing much of anything due to depressed property values. But with the major arteries running through multiple jurisdictions in west Oakland County — Haggerty Road in West Bloomfield and Commerce townships; Cooley Lake Road running through West Bloomfield, Waterford, Commerce and White Lake townships; and M-59 through Waterford and White Lake come to mind — we can see how allowing those communities to team up could be beneficial when the economy turns around and TIF again becomes a viable source of funding for a CIA.
Giving the communities the option to enter into a joint CIA is worthwhile, if not now, then in the future.