Midland City Council discusses PILOT ordinance, education needs

Dr. Linda M. Holoman (left) accepts a proclamation from Midland Mayor Maureen Donker (right) designating March 15-17 as Midland (MI) Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Weekend  to celebrate its 40th anniversary, on March 4, 2024 in City Hall.

Isabelle Pasciolla/Midland Daily News

Midland City Council approved an Industrial Development District on Monday that could house a potential Research and Development facility for Corteva Agriscience. 

The establishment of the Industrial Development District (IDD) is the first step for the possible project. City Assessor Kayla Ripley explained that IDD’s are for new facility projects and are needed for requesting an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption (IFT). 

If Corteva pursues an IFT and it is approved, it would exempt the property from half of the total millage rate, except with the State Education Tax. That exemption would last one to 12 years as determined by the local government. 

Article continues below this ad

Ripley emphasized that Corteva has not brought forth an IFT application yet and that the decision by City Council on Monday night was only to establish the Industrial Development District, which does not impact taxes.

The IDD, which was established on a piece of property in the Dow Industrial Park, could potentially hold a new Research and Development facility, although Ripley said this was the very beginning of the planning process. 

“At this time, they have not commenced any kind of construction or begun any work on this at all,” Ripley said. “This is just in preparation. There could possibly be an IFT application coming soon. They’re just doing their part to get there.”

If an IFT application does come through, it would contain more details on the potential facility.  

Article continues below this ad

Nicole Wilson, vice president of Economic Development at the Midland Business Alliance, said she has been working with Corteva and that this site is in competition with Corteva’s headquarters in Indiana. 
“We can’t give all the good details yet, but we’ll get there,” Wilson said. “This project is in competition with their headquarters site in Indianapolis, so this is our opportunity to put together both a local and state incentive package to win this project for Midland.”

PILOT ordinance discussion

During New Business on the meeting’s agenda, Councilman Steve Arnosky raised a concern for the City Council’s understanding of Payment in Lieu of Taxes exemptions and proposed prohibiting any more PILOTs until the council members can become more educated on the topic.

Article continues below this ad

Arnosky proposed that City Council temporarily halt any PILOT readings until they could have a workshop to learn the rules and regulations around PILOTs, including the difference between low income housing and workforce housing, as well as the types of housing that are really needed in the city.

City Manager Brad Kaye explained that city staff were already having discussions about such a workshop after the most recent PILOT hearings, where there were disagreements over certain rules and terminology.

“We are working towards an evening to spend with you,” Kaye said while addressing the Council members. “When we have that and are able to find time to do that, we intend to bring in people who can provide information and do an assessment as to where we stand.”

Kaye added that in order to prohibit any more PILOT readings, City Council would need to establish an ordinance. After City Council felt it had a better understanding, it could then repeal the ordinance.

Article continues below this ad

“(I would request) that we enact an ordinance that would prohibit PILOTs and that would just stay out there until we have a better handle on the factors that go into making a decision on a PILOT, like housing, like what the rules are for low income housing versus workforce housing,” Arnosky said. “I don’t think we have a good handle on the impact of that and how that applies to the taxation of that particular apartment complex.” 

The other City Council members agreed that they could use more clarity and a better understanding of PILOTs, but disagreed with establishing the ordinance. 

“When we talk about affordable housing, that could impact anybody in our community, anybody who wants to come to our community,” said Councilman Diane Brown Wilhelm. “Yeah, we need some more clarity, I agree with that, but to say that we’re going to put that type of roadblock in place doesn’t seem right.”

One of Arnosky’s questions pertained to what types of housing the city really needs, whether it be low income or something else, so that they can decide what projects should have tax breaks. Midland County is working on a new housing study that will provide more updated information than the 2018 Housing Study, but it will not be completed until the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Article continues below this ad

Arnosky also wanted to rule out any uncertainty amongst the board when it comes to the rules and laws of PILOTs. Until they have that certainty, he said he did not want to consider any more PILOTs.

“I’m not ready to approve an ordinance,” said Mayor Maureen Donker. “I think there’s some homework that we have to do, and we see this homework coming. Should a PILOT come before us…we could postpone that PILOT at the time until we have something that we know is coming…To literally stop everything, I don’t think that’s the right thing. I think we need to be thoughtful.”

City Council concluded that it would have a workshop on PILOTs, possibly with a member of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, to become more educated on the tax incentive and to have any of its questions answered. It did not decide to move forward with an ordinance prohibiting PILOTs in the meantime.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Article continues below this ad

City Council and Mayor Donker issued a proclamation designating March 15-17 as Midland (MI) Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Weekend in recognition of the chapter’s 40th anniversary. 

Founded on the campus of Howard University in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was created as an organization of college-educated women bound by sisterhood, scholarship, service and social action. 

Since its chartering on March 17, 1984, the Midland (MI) Alumnae Chapter has served the Great Lakes Bay Region with a focus on youth development, cultural awareness, social action and scholarship. 

On the weekend of March 15-17, the organization will host a meet-and-greet, luncheon and dinner events at The H Hotel, a performance of the Detroit Youth Choir at Midland Center for the Arts, and a church service at Sunrise Baptist Church. The Midland Chapter has also established endowed scholarships at both Midland and Mount Pleasant Area community foundations. 

Article continues below this ad

Isabelle Pasciolla is a politics/government reporter for the Midland Daily News. Email her at

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *