DIA Thanks Voters for Millage as Some Cities Continue Fight to Keep the Funds
A lawsuit is before the Wayne County Circuit Court filed by Dearborn and other communities fighting to keep part of the tax dollars in their downtowns.
The Detroit Institute of Arts this month thanked voters for approving a millage last August to support the museum at their announcement of the 2013 Inside|Out installations, even as some communities continue a fight in court to keep a portion of those tax dollars.
Dearborn Heights was among the 25 communities selected to host reproductions of the museum's masterpieces as part of the 2013 program, which will be the first since a millage to help support the DIA was passed in August.
Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties approved a tax of 0.2 mills for the next 10 years to help cover the museum's operating costs. In return, tri-county residents will receive free admission to the DIA for the next decade. In the meanwhile, the museum's fundraisers will work to build a sustainable endowment.
"I cannot tell you what an important and critical vote that was," DIA chief operating officer Annmarie Erickson said after the 2013 Inside|Out communities were announced at the museum this month. "Your help really did an amazingly critical thing for the DIA."
"It also was an amazing statement on regionalism," she added. "This kind of back and forth is going to be essential to moving forward in southeast Michigan."
However, the thank you comes as a handful of Wayne County communities—Dearborn and Dearborn Heights among them—continue a fight in court for the right to keep a portion of the tax dollars earmarked for the museum, as well as the Detroit Zoo, for their downtowns.
Erickson did not address the lawsuit in her discussion about the millage, but said to the Detroit Free Press earlier this month that she felt opinion would be split.
"I think your opinion is going to be determined by which side of the fence you're sitting on—either with the zoo and the DIA, which specifically sought millages to support their operations; or with these downtown development authorities, who believe they can capture part of that," she said.
Some Dearborn residents made their allegiance clear, saying what they voted for is where they want the money to go.
"When I voted my approval of the millage for the zoo and the DIA.....I voted for a millage for the zoo and the DIA," commented Dearborn Patch reader Pam Post. "I didn't vote for any other city, including my own, to use the funds for their own purposes."
"(Dearborn) should leave their hands off these funds," added Patch reader Jim. "The voters approved the milages for the DIA and Zoo not to be wasted by our mayor."
No decision on the lawsuit had come from the Wayne County Circuit Court as of Feb. 24.