LANSING — State Representative Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park) successfully proposed an amendment to House Bill 5176 that would restore funding to the Allen Park Downtown Development Authority, after the city assessor, appointed by the emergency financial manager, made a critical error in 2014. Thanks to the amendment, the Michigan Department of Treasury will restore an estimated $110,000 in lost funding. 

“Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working with Jennifer Kibby, executive director of the Allen Park DDA, on a series of issues regarding state funding for downtown development authorities as a result of the personal property tax reforms,” said Liberati. “Ms. Kibby brought this particular issue to my attention yesterday morning, and I’m grateful that the bill sponsor agreed to address the concern in legislation that was set to go before the governor for his signature.”

In 2014, former city Assessor Gary Evanko reported a $7.2 million increase in commercial personal property value to the state of Michigan, when in fact, data shows a $508,016 decrease. At the time, the Michigan Department of Treasury determined that because there was an increase, no funds were needed to cover potentially lost funds due to the reforms. However, by the time the error was found, the department claimed that funds had already been dispersed and there was not a path that would allow it to rectify the error.

In its initial form, HB 5176 revised the formula for reimbursing cities for personal property tax losses related specifically to the “small taxpayer exemption” in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The Liberati amendment now allows a one-time opportunity for the DDA to resubmit the personal property value gain/loss for fiscal year 2014 and, as a result, be reimbursed nearly $110,000 for the elimination of the small taxpayer personal property tax.

“The Allen Park DDA is immensely grateful for Representative Liberati’s help. His quick action not only brought this missing $110,000 back to the DDA, but helped resolve a number of other problems that infinitely help our bottom line,” Kibby said. “The DDA looks forward to showing our appreciation by investing these funds into new economic development that will continue to grow downtown Allen Park for years to come.”

“Ms. Kibby’s bringing this issue to my attention couldn’t have had better timing. I immediately reached out to the bill sponsor and am grateful that he was open to my amendment,” said Liberati. “This lost funding is a significant portion of the DDA’s budget and threatened future bond payments. However, by restoring this lost funding, the Allen Park DDA will continue promoting a vibrant environment where small-business entrepreneurs can thrive.”