SHERIDAN — Sheridan City Council barely passed an ordinance on first reading re-establishing a Downtown Development Authority fund and board to allocate those funds Tuesday.
The DDA has been a longtime discussion among city officials and the Downtown Sheridan Association. In 2013, the DSA collected signatures for a petition to form the DDA, which resulted in former Mayor Dave Kinskey signing his name as one of the first supporters. Almost exactly six years later in August 2019, councilors rekindled the conversation and took to the idea to resurrect the entity for continued downtown growth.
City attorney Brendon Kerns presented a draft of the ordinance for approval on first reading at Tuesday’s council meeting, which included a few minor tweaks to the original ordinance that ensured the entity complied with Wyoming State Statutes.
One of those adjustments created a staggered schedule of appointed board members instead of the previous language ending all board members’ terms at the same time.
“You get those staggered terms, and with those staggered terms that way you have a continual rotation of board (members) and you don’t lose everybody at once,” Kerns said.
If the ordinance passes on third reading in two meetings from Tuesday’s reading, members would be appointed to the board — three of them must be business owners or have a vested business interest in the downtown area, one is an at-large member and the fifth member comes from a governing body — on a schedule.
Two would hold their board positions for one year; one board member would serve two years initially and a fourth appointed member would hold their position for three years. Following the initial cycle, board members would serve on four-year terms with no term limits set in the proposed ordinance.
Financially, the DDA runs underneath the city budget, so the DDA’s finances would be subject to the same regulations as the city.
“A reminder they are a city board, so they will be audited with the rest of the city’s audit, and that’s why they follow the same policies and procedures there,” Kerns said.
The city will authorize transfers to the DDA from the city’s budget, rather than sales tax automatically transferring over. The amount will be discussed by the mayor, council and city staff during upcoming budget deliberations if the ordinance passes.
When a motion was called to approve the ordinance on first reading, Councilor Clint Beaver opposed the action.
“As I’ve indicated to council before, I think the creation or the reinvigoration of a government agency when there’s been shown to be no need for it is not a wise thing to do,” Beaver said.
Councilor Jacob Martin also opposed and Mayor Roger Miller voted “yes at this point,” noting the hard work city staff had done to bring the ordinance up to appropriate standards.
Council has two more readings to effectively kill the ordinance, which could then provide council with options to repeal the original ordinance establishing the DDA or mothball the DDA, essentially retaining the option to resurrect it at a later time if desired.