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Decatur Downtown Development Authority approves 2023-2024 budget

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Decatur Downtown Development Authority approves 2023-2024 budget

(L to R) Decatur Downtown Development Authority Members Tony Leung, Conor McNally, Lisa Turner, Darren Comer and David Harry met on Friday, July 14, and approved the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Downtown Development Authority, at its July 14 meeting, approved its fiscal year 2023-2024 budget. The DDA is anticipating to receive about $1.3 million and plans to spend about $1.6 million.

The fund balance, or reserves, for the DDA would end at a negative of about $250,000.

“The development authority is meant to be spending money,” Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said. “We’re not meant to be saving money. We have a healthy operating account balance. We do have a healthy money market account balance, especially with the sale of the Old Depot [building].”

She added that some of the funds can be leveraged with matching grants and other funding sources.

DDA Chair Conor McNally agreed and added that the board needs to think about what the priorities are coming out of the recently adopted downtown master plan.

“This particular budget reflects our community, which is in a very strong financial position,” Threadgill said. “This budget…is guided by the city’s 2020 strategic plan, as well as our new downtown master plan, which was adopted at the end of last month.”

In fiscal year 2022-2023, the DDA invested more in long-term planning and this fiscal year, the DDA will focus on implementing the downtown master plan. For example, the board will look at continuing a retail and retention recruitment plan, as well as its commercial facade improvement grant program.

“When we think specifically about the downtown master plan, we have a lot of concepts in the plan, and now we need to move into the preconstruction phase with surveys, engineering, and design development,” Threadgill said.

The board and the city will begin to look at redeveloping the MARTA bus turnaround and the Square, which will include relocating the bandstand and adding a pavilion close to Church Street.

The DDA will look at doing a parking management study and way-finding signage in downtown Decatur.

The development authority also leased some properties. The DDA recently sold the building at 303 W. Howard Avenue to Kimball Mill, so the board will not have to provide funding for the upkeep of the building. The Decatur Retail Incubator Program ended, so the DDA is no longer leasing 431 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, so that expenditure is not in the FY 23-24 budget.

The DDA manages the budget of the conference center and the conference center parking deck. This budget reflects $303,000 in revenue and $317,000 in expenditures. Most of the income for this budget comes from the city’s hotel/motel tax.

The expenditures include funds for some exterior improvements to the conference center like pressure washing, painting, and making repairs to the entrance and the stonework. In addition to that, the budget allocates funds to replace the stage at the conference center as well as the banquet furnishings.

For the parking deck, the DDA anticipates receiving $120,000 in revenue and spending $144,000.

“In the parking deck, we’re looking at [adding] a generator, some additional electric vehicle charging stations, as well as pressure washing and some additional lighting,” Threadgill said.

The next DDA meeting will be held on Friday, Aug. 11, at 8 a.m. at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street.

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