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Rogers City plans new tax for marketing

ROGERS CITY — Rogers City will need to approve a special marketing tax to implement its economic development and community marketing plans, Mayor Scott McLennan told the city’s Downtown Development Authority on Friday.

McLennan said the citywide special assessment would cost the owner a $100,000 home about $30 per year. The tax would generate about $50,000, which McLennan says will be used to establish an office for the Main Street Program.

The special assessment was included in the city’s economic development and community marketing plan completed by Joe Borgstrom of the East Lansing-based firm Place and Main.

Unlike most taxes, the special assessment does not require voter approval and only needs to be approved by the City Council. McLennan said officials still will need to get businesses and community members on board.

“The information has to get out to the community,” McLennan said. “The community has to understand the program and they have to embrace it. It has to be shown as something of value to them.”

McLennan said the Main Street Office is expected to cost $90,000. In addition to the $50,000 from the special assessment, $20,000 would come from the DDA and $20,000 would come from other sources, such as community donations.

The city has already received a pledge of $10,000 from an anonymous donor, he said.

To get the community on board, McLennan said officials plan to have a kickoff event at the Rogers City Theater by mid-February, as well as host a couple coffee hour events.

The city was required to have its economic development and marketing plans updated as part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Redevelopment Ready Community Program, which offers state assistance to cities who make their communities more developer-friendly.

City officials are now working toward acceptance into the MEDC’s Main Street Program, which helps communities redevelop their downtowns.

McLennan said a convention and visitors bureau would be needed to move forward with the Main Street Program. The DDA will also look into hiring a couple of interns to help the authority with marketing.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.