"What is the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone?"
In 2001, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) created eleven separate SmartZones throughout the state, including Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti. The purpose of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone is to provide capital needed for the facilitation of the commercialization of research products being developed at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University and the development of private high technology enterprises that, but for this organization, would be deferred, or located outside of the SmartZone area.
The foundational documents for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone included 1.) An initial SmartZone application to the MEDC, 2.) A Tax Increment Financing plan, and 3.) A Municipal Cooperation Agreement between the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
The governing body, known as the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) consists of a nine-member board of directors of which six members are appointed by the Ann Arbor City Council and three members are appointed by the Ypsilanti City Council. The LDFA operates under a set of bylaws that were initially approved by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti City Councils. Proposed changes or amendments to the bylaws are adopted by the LDFA's Board of Directors and submitted to the Ann Arbor City and Ypsilanti City Councils for approval.
The LDFA provides local financing for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone through a tax capture mechanism within a specific district. The geographic boundaries for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone LDFA was defined as the combined DDAs of the two respective cities, and under the tax capture formula, tax levies eligible for capture include only those for which a prior claim had not been established by either DDA. The SmartZone captures up to one-half of the school operating and state education taxes within the Ann Arbor portion of the district, and is based on the increase in taxable value due to new development and appreciation above the base year of 2002. Presently, TIF revenue is generated only within the geographic boundaries of the Ann Arbor DDA.