Source: Sherman Publications

Young now acting interim DDA director

by CJ Carnacchio

October 02, 2013

Oxford Village Manager Joe Young was given another hat to wear last week.

Council voted 4-0 to appoint him as acting interim executive director/manager of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). He will receive no additional pay.

The DDA has been without a director since July 1, when the 2013-14 fiscal year began.

The director’s position was completely eliminated from the budget in order to save money for the cash-strapped DDA, which would have ended the 2012-13 fiscal year with a deficit had the village not transferred $15,000 from its general fund reserves to cover it.

Madonna Van Fossen, who had served as director since 2008, was costing the DDA approximately $68,000 annually in wages and benefits.

Council appointed Young to the temporary position because in order for downtown Oxford to maintain its status as a nationally accredited Main Street community, it must have a director/manager who works on at least a part-time basis.

“I’ve been doing the (director’s) work on an unofficial basis,” Young said. “We might as well get credit for it.”

Some concern was expressed by council about the extra workload this position could place on Young, but he indicated it shouldn’t be a problem because the DDA’s budget was so drastically reduced that its activity level is very minimal right now.

“It’s not significant in as much as there’s not a lot of money in the DDA budget to begin with,” he told council. “Secondly, there aren’t that many events going on.”

Young said the only upcoming events are the Scarecrow Festival at the end of October and the Soup & Sweets Stroll in December. “We don’t have any other events until May or June,” he said.

Young noted they’re getting a lot of business and volunteer support for the events.

Councilman Elgin Nichols suggested that in January, the DDA might be able to look into hiring a part-time director because it should be in a better financial position after having accumulated some cash reserves.

Young noted there is some money available for a DDA director in the current budget.

A total of $20,000 was previously budgeted to pay for Van Fossen’s unemployment benefits. But $16,380 of those funds will no longer be needed as she accepted a position in late August at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac.