Council to Discuss Deferral of Interdepartmental Loan Repayment for Dawn Theater Renovations

HILLSDALE – The Hillsdale Tax Increment Finance Authority will soon ask Hillsdale City Council to defer payments on an interdepartmental loan from the Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities for one year.

If approved, TIFA would not have to start repaying the $ 200,000 loan with an interest rate of 2.5% until September 2022 compared to September of this year.

TIFA’s application has already been approved by the Hillsdale BPU Board of Directors and has been asked to authorize funding from TIFA to complete stenciling inside the historic Dawn Theater which has undergone massive renovations. for most of last year.

The council approved the interdepartmental loan in February 2020 and TIFA began withdrawing funds in September 2020, with the costs of renovating the historic theater exceeding initial estimates.

The 5-year loan was approved by 5-3, with Hillsdale Mayor Adam Stockford, Ward 3 Councilor Bill Zeizer and Ward 1 Councilor Cynthia Pratt in the dissenting minority.

The city received a community development block grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) of $ 1.415 million to rehabilitate the Dawn Theater, located at 110 N. Broad St., for use as a community and event center in April 2019. TIFA was required to commit. to $ 400,000 of its own funds for the project, in order to receive the grant.

The need for additional funds came after TIFA awarded a bid of $ 1,698,000 to Foulke Construction, which exceeded the project’s budget.

The controversial interdepartmental loan raised concerns with Mayor Adam Stockford in February 2020, saying at the time “It’s really hard for me to talk to the people in town and tell them we’re investing money in this. project – the city – not the board of directors of TIFA, now reaches out and invests in this project money that we do not invest in roads or fire trucks, ”he said. “If I could just pull the line aside and say that I support what TIFA is doing and want to see these projects succeed, but I don’t personally want to give this loan for the reasons I mentioned before … that’s pretty much near where I’m standing on it.

City manager David Mackie said while deferral of payment was on Monday night’s agenda, TIFA’s board of directors has requested that it be withdrawn for discussion at a later date.

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