The DDA is a gem, support it on the Nov. 7 ballot and vote No

To my fellow Lake Orion village neighbors, I’m asking you to vote no to protect the DDA and to keep in place all the funding that makes downtown attractive for residents, businesses and visitors.

I’m a 20-year community member and most recently we made the move to the village. My wife and I moved downtown specifically because of the improvements we’ve observed over the two decades we’ve been in the community.

We love the walk to downtown for dinner. We can choose from all the great options. Choices and options were not like that just a few years ago.

We like participating in the DDA events. For instance, my spouse just attended Witches Night with friends. It’s such a nice downtown, and if you want, take a short trolley ride to Oxford for even more options. All this supported by the DDA.

For us, we like the easy stroll into town with friends and neighbors where we’ve attended many of the street fairs, or visited Children’s Park. I’m often found at ABeanToGo for afternoon espresso or visiting with friends.

All this and much more makes the LO Downtown a plus for the region and us residents. Without the focused effort of the DDA I don’t believe the region would be as vibrant.

I understand sometimes a public entity like the DDA can come under scrutiny for a bad decision but let’s do two things as a community; first, let’s agree no one is perfect and second, instead of complaining choose to participate or volunteer to make things better. The DDA welcomes input and volunteers support many events.

What do businesses think? I’ve always made a point to ask downtown businesses how’s business? Most owners say the DDA can mean the difference between coming to and investing in LO or not. The DDA has made it easier for them to choose to spend their capital in Lake Orion and stay in Lake Orion. Consider that Nationally DDAs are more popular because a vibrant Downtown is desirable to visitors, businesses and residents.

There’s a compelling financial reason to support the DDA. If you support the ballot proposal to defund the DDA it’s going to cost you and me more money, there’s no savings. If you appreciate some of what I listed above and want the DDA to keep up its work, the DDA will need to raise $400,000 in new money to replace what it will lose if the ballot defunds the DDA.

When I first heard this I was very confused because I never heard of so many organizations supporting another. You see the state of Michigan sends the DDA money. The township, county and a few other organizations send the DDA money. These taxing authorities send the DDA money from taxes collected from us and forward it to the DDA. This is how the DDA was formed. Right or wrong, this is how the DDA was financed. It makes sense when you consider that our LO Downtown serves the broader region.

One last time, the DDA would lose annually $400,000+ (about half of the DDA budget) because the vote is about returning funds to these taxing authorities who would stop supporting this regional gem called Lake Orion Downtown.

Please, vote no to save the DDA from defunding. And, come and volunteer at the DDA.

Don Watza

Orion Township


One response to “The DDA is a gem, support it on the Nov. 7 ballot and vote No”

  1. I want my tax dollars to go to where I voted them, not to an unelected body that doesn’t answer to the public that funds them and subsidizes a few businesses at the expense of everyone else. Now they have taken on more than $7 million in public debt for a project that still has no approved plan or cost. That is where more than $400,000 in public dollars will be going every year for the next 18 years.

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