Downtown Development Authority
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority was established in 1980. City fathers saw the need to help spur economic growth and development in downtown Sault. Functioning for over 25 years, the DDA has created 2 Tax Increment Finance Districts. These districts have been used to finance many infrastructure projects in the downtown. The DDA has also instituted a Principal Shopping District (2mil tax assessment) to help market and promote the downtown area. The Downtown Development Authority maintains an extensive website at DowntownSault.org
This position is responsible for providing leadership, general administrative direction and support to the DDA, including any related entities established to implement downtown projects. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, overseeing and coordinating the implementation of the Downtown Development Plans and Tax Increment Financing Plans, organizing marketing, promotion, recruitment and retention strategies for businesses within the downtown, management of the downtown parking, including a 400 space parking structure, and related organizational, administration and coordination of related duties.
Under the supervision of the DDA Board, the Downtown Manager oversees and manages the development of the downtown business district, downtown parks, and parking lots and structure, including obtaining and administering State and Federal grant funds and adherence to various local, state and federal guidelines. The Downtown Manager serves as staff support to various City Boards, Commissions and Committees as assigned by the DDA Board. The Downtown Manager is responsible for building and maintaining positive working relationships and to act as liaison between business owners, the DDA Board, and the City.
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority is managed by a board of directors, which is required by Act 197 to be composed of not less than eight or more than twelve members approved by the City Commission. One board position must be held by the city manager, one board position must be a held by a downtown resident, and the majority of board members must have an interest in property located in the downtown district.
Tax Increment Finance
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority oversees two “Tax Increment Finance” authorities (TIFA), which are areas within the Downtown Development Authority’s geographic boundaries selected for development. The development plans for both tax increment finance authorities outline projects recommended by the Downtown Development Authority. Both tax increment finance authorities generate revenues for downtown projects by capturing tax revenues based on the incremental increase of downtown property values over time.
It is important to note that this procedure does not increase taxes in any way. Also, no other taxing body ever loses tax revenue. Other taxing bodies simply do not realize the increase in tax revenue generated by tax increment finance authority improvements. In other words, the Downtown Development Authority ensures that increases in downtown tax revenues stay sharply focused on the incredibly important downtown district.
Principal Shopping District
The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority also manages a “Principal Shopping District,” pursuant to the state of Michigan’s Act 120 of 1961. Sault Ste. Marie’s Principal Shopping District is within the Downtown Development Authority’s geographic boundaries, and allows the Downtown Development Authority to undertake tasks such as conducting market research and public relations campaigns, developing, coordinating and conducting retail and institutional promotions, and sponsoring special events and related activities. Sault Ste. Marie’s Principal Shopping District is funded by a two mil assessment levied on properties within the geographic district. This is equivalent to two one-thousandths of a cent per dollar of assessed value. For example, if a property was worth $50,000, the two mil assessment would generate $100 for the Principal Shopping District each year.
Finally, the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority oversees revenues and expenses related to all public surface parking downtown, as well as all revenues and expenses associated with the downtown parking garage. Please visit here for more information.
The DDA Office is located at
511 Ashmun Street, Suite 103, Sualt Ste Marie, MI
Justin Knepper at: (906) 635-6973 or Email