Ferndale City Council met Monday night and addressed a variety of issues, including amending the Downtown Development and Tax Increment Financing Plan and hiring a school resource officer for the Taft Education Center.
Following are some highlights from the meeting:
Downtown development plan approved
Council held a public hearing on an amendment to the Ferndale Downtown Development and Tax Increment Financing Plan. Downtown Development Authority Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius presented the DDA's plan along with David Birchler from community planning firm Birchler Arroyo Associates, based in Lathrup Village.
The DDA is funded through tax increment financing, or TIF, which is the ability to capture the incremental increase in property taxes that results from improvements in the district. The captured revenues are used to finance public improvement projects within the district as a means for jumpstarting economic growth.
Two people spoke in favor of the plan, which extends the life of the 1981 TIF and updates the projects included in the development plan. The projects are broken into three categories: development-related, streetscape and traffic and parking.
Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution to move forward with the plan. Councilman Mike Lennon was absent from the meeting.
“It's basically a financial plan for the development projects you would want to see in the district happen,” Sheppard-Decius said.
Birchler said the plan has benefits for the city that are “visible and measurable.” The planning team was careful to keep the city competitive, he said.
“The competition never stops and the city [of Ferndale] and its DDA must be vigilant to prevent the decline of downtown that would hurt the city's neighborhoods,” he said.
Council OKs Taft officer, recreation director hires
Council members also unanimously approved a resolution to hire a School Resource Officer who would be assigned to Taft Education Center.
The total compensation of the position will be approximately $105,000 each fiscal year. The city and school district have been considering the hire and agreed on a 75 percent-25 percent cost split, with the school district paying 75 percent of the cost.
The district began discussing a possible officer following the Dec. 8 shooting of a student in the leg outside the school. School resource officers perform three roles: law enforcement officer, law-related counselor and law-related education teacher. A school resource officer is already in place at Ferndale High School.
The position would likely be filled by calling back one of the four Ferndale police officers who have been laid off, Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins said.
The Ferndale Board of Education is to vote on the proposal at its March 19 meeting.
City Council also voted to fill the position of recreation director, which had been vacant since the former director resigned last year. Ferndale City Manager April McGrath said the city would begin the hiring process and looking at internal candidates.
Street vendor ordinance decisions tabled
Council decided to table decisions on adopting resolutions designating specific public spaces for street vendors in the downtown district and also setting fees for street vendors. Several brick-and-mortar business owners spoke at the meeting expressing concern over when and where street vendors could operate, while several street vendor owners shared concerns about the proposed regulations.
“This is the challenge with balancing the needs of both types of businesses,” Councilwoman Melanie Piana said.
Council members sought additional recommendations from the Downtown Development Authority. DDA director Cristina Sheppard-Decius said the DDA board of directors would discuss the issue at its mid-April meeting and offer recommendations before council's April 23 meeting.