Frequently Asked Questions
Where did the idea of a Neighborhood Improvement Authority come from?
In the fall of 2022, the City of Port Huron engaged with Double Haul Solutions (DHS) to host a series of community engagement events to discuss community revitalization efforts in Port Huron’s Southside Neighborhood. Consideration of utilizing the Neighborhood Improvement Authority (NIA) tool was discussed as an option to facilitate such stakeholder-driven community revitalization. In the spring of 2023, DHS was contracted to assist the City with the implementation of an NIA and to assemble the necessary Development and Tax Increment Financing plans. To find out more information on the initial community engagement and view a copy of the report, CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION.
What can a Neighborhood Improvement Authority do?
The state law provides a list of what the NIA can do, such as:
Plan and propose the construction, renovation, repair, remodeling, rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, or reconstruction of a public facility, an existing building, or a multiple-family dwelling unit which may be necessary or appropriate to the execution of a plan which, in the opinion of the board, aids in the residential growth and economic growth of the development area.
Implement any plan of development, including housing for low-income individuals, in the development…
Acquire by purchase or otherwise, on terms and conditions and in a manner the authority considers proper or own, convey, or otherwise dispose of, or lease as lessor or lessee, land, and other property, real or personal, or rights or interests in the property...
Improve land and construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, restore, and preserve, equip, clear, improve, maintain, repair, and operate any public facility, building, including multiple-family dwellings, and any necessary or desirable appurtenances to those buildings, …, in whole or in part, of any public or private person or corporation, or a combination thereof.
Fix, charge, and collect fees, rents, and charges for the use of any facility, building, or property under its control or any part of the facility, building, or property, and pledge the fees, rents, and charges for the payment of revenue bonds issued by the authority.
Lease, in whole or in part, any facility, building, or property under its control.
Accept grants and donations of property, labor, or other things of value from a public or private source.
Acquire and construct public facilities.
What is the purpose of a Neighborhood Improvement Authority?
The purpose of a Neighborhood Improvement Authority is to bring together a group of residents and other community stakeholders to direct the creation and implementation of a community strategy for the southside of Port Huron that will help guide and direct reinvestment in residential, commercial, and community development of the neighborhood.
Who leads the Neighborhood Improvement Authority?
The neighborhood Improvement Authority be led by a board of directors. Per state law, the board can be 5-9 members with the majority having a property interest in the district. After hearing from residents at the public hearing on July 25, 2023, it is clear that the mayor and city council’s preference for NIA board appointments will go to residents (owners or renters) and business owners within the district.
Those interested in applying to be on the Neighborhood Improvement Authority will apply to be on the board by either filling out an online or paper application form, and submitting it to the City Clerks Office either in person or by mail at Port Huron City Clerk’s Office, 100 McMorran Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060 By email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 810-982-7872.
If more than 15 applications are received, there will be a committee of the council formed to review applications, a process which will start immediately following closing the application period. If less than 15 applications are received, the Mayor will make recommendations to the City Council on who would be appointed to the board, and the City council will ultimately vote on the members, as they do with all city Boards and Commissions. The tentative timeline for applications is:
Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 - Online application posted. Paper application forms available in the Clerk’s office.
Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023 - NAACP Field Day and Southside Music Festival. Paper applications will be available at Double Haul Solutions tent, and our team will be available to answer questions.
Friday, October 6,2023 - Applications due to City Clerk.
Monday, October 23, 2023 – Appointment of NIA board members.
Note: Timeline subject to change.
What are the potential benefits of a Neighborhood Improvement Authority?
Bringing together a group of residents and stakeholders to focus on community-led development strategies in the southside will help keep attention, energy, and focus on meeting neighborhood defined goals. This could include more and different types of housing, commercial enterprises, and community infrastructure improvements. The NIA Board may also serve as a convener who gathers community collaborators to help coordinate, support, and amplify initiatives that benefit the southside community.
How will the Neighborhood Improvement Authority be funded?
While tax Increment financing will provide some funding for the Neighborhood Improvement Authority, it will take several years to collect enough revenues to support major initiatives. . The Neighborhood Improvement Authority Board will likely need to pursue multiple fundings strategies as allowed by the Act including:
Revenues from any property, building, or facility owned, leased, licensed, or operated by the authority
Money obtained from other sources approved by the governing body of the municipality
What is Tax Increment Financing?
Tax Increment Financing is a tool used to the increase in taxable value (the increment) as compared to a set baseline year a given geography (the district). Tax increment revenues are then then reinvested back into the district to support eligible activities.
A property owner in the district, pays $2,000 in property taxes in 2023.
Next year, the value of the property goes up due to economic development and neighborhood improvements. The owner then pays $2,200 in property taxes in 2024.
Up to the additional $200 in tax revenue will be captured to be invested in eligible activities within the district.
What are the proposed boundaries of the Neighborhood Improvement Authority?
What are the responsibilities of the Neighborhood Improvement Authority?
The Neighborhood Improvement Authority Board will first work with neighborhood residents and other community stakeholders to create and adopt a development and tax increment financing plan. This will be the guiding document for community-led development in the neighborhood. The board will then work with the same residents and community stakeholders to implement the plan which will include short-, mid- and long-term goals.
The neighborhood improvement authority board, with the assistance from the Double Haul Solutions Team, will hold community engagement sessions to identify the "projects" to be outlined in the development plan.
Can the Neighborhood Improvement Authority take my house?
While the Neighborhood Improvement Authority can purchase property or receive donated property, it will be clearly articulated in the ordinance that it cannot take property.
Will residents be making decisions, or will it be people from outside the area?
Yes. City Council has asked that a majority of Neighborhood Improvement Authority Board members be residents. As a result, some proposed changes to the ordinance have been made, to ensure that a majority of the board members are residents.
In addition, the NIA board will be a public body, subject to the Open Meetings act. They are also responsible for reporting out regularly to City Council and will have to have annual budgets approved by City Council like other bodies, such as the Port Huron Downtown Development Authority.
Will my taxes go up?
Taxes will not increase due to the creation of a Neighborhood Improvement Authority. Taxes will adjust as they do currently, which depends on changes in taxable value and the tax rates set by the City or other taxing jurisdictions.
How can the NIA board be held accountable?
Initial Board appointments will be staggered, so that NIA board seats will come up for nominations each year. This will allow for other residents, owners, partners, and stakeholders to participate on the NIA board over time. Initial appointments will range from 1 to 4 years.
Additionally, all NIA board meetings will be open to the public, and each meeting will have time for public comment. Annual reports are required to be submitted to the City and State Treasury and will be posted on the City’s website.
How do we know if the Neighborhood Improvement Authority is successful?
The NIA Board, residents, and community stakeholders will be developing a Southside NIA 30-Year Development and Tax Increment Financing Plan as outlined by statute. It is plausible that the NIA Board will create a strategic plan that outlines various priorities and metrics that can be measured. The Board, City Council, and the Community will be able to gauge how the NIA is doing by whether they are meeting the goals and actions as described within a strategic plan.