(Oakland County Commission Press Release, Aug. 15, 2013)
On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, the Oakland County Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell, in partnership with Oakland County Commissioner Kathy S. Crawford introduced a resolution in support for the maintenance of the Detroit Institute of Arts Collection. The resolution would also end funding of the DIA with Oakland County taxpayers money, if any art is sold.
With bankruptcy looming and the financial future of the City of Detroit being uncertain, as new developments from the City of Detroit’s Emergency Manager’s assessment of the city’s assets have the Oakland County Board of Commissioners concerned about the Detroit Institute of Arts and its collection.
At the August 14, 2013 meeting, there was a unanimous vote in favor of the resolution by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. The resolution clearly reiterated that projected funding for the 10-year, 0.2 mill levy, passed by county tax payers, which is estimated to contribute close to $98 million in funding for the DIA will cease if any art work is sold.
According to Oakland County Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell and members of the Board, the use of any funds received from the Oakland County Art Institute Authority to support the new DIA, Inc., lease or licensing obligations imposed by the City as a means to raise funds to satisfy City creditors under Chapter 9, to support city service or otherwise and not for the benefit of the Museum, would constitute an abrogation, cancellation, revocation, suspension, termination and/or substantial modification of the operating agreement dated December 12, 1997 between the City of Detroit and the Detroit Institute of Art, Inc.
The Oakland County Board of Commissioners also finds that such actions would trigger the provisions of Article III, Section 3.1 (B) of the Art Institute Services Agreement between the Oakland County Art Institute Authority and the Detroit Institute of Arts, Inc. and terminate any Authority duty to levy any further tax in support of the DIA services agreement.
“It is our responsibility to be proactive in protecting the intent of Oakland County voters. Our hope is that the DIA remain intact and that it does not become part of the bankruptcy proceedings. We value the museum as a regional asset but should it or the art be used as part of the remedy in bankruptcy then we can no longer provide the millage funding from Oakland County,” stated Oakland County Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell.
Last year, on August 7th, Oakland County residents voted and passed a 0.2 mill tax levy in support of the maintenance of the DIA, that to date has raised close to $9.8 million in tax funding for the DIA. On May 17, 2012, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution giving Oakland County residents the opportunity to vote on the millage which resulted in the Board creating the Oakland County Art Institute Authority.
Following the creation of the 2012 Oakland County Art Institute Authority, Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael J. Gingell selected Attorney Alan Ackerman of Bloomfield Hills, Certified Public Accountant Barbara Dobb of Commerce Township and Dr. David L. Roberson, Pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and a resident of West Bloomfield to serve on the authority. The five-member authority includes DIA Board of Directors Jennifer Fischer and former State Representative and Senator Thomas Guastello, who are designees selected by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner also serves as a non-voting member of the authority. Authority members serve two-year terms.
The authority members adopted the language for the August 7, 2012, ballot that gave county voters the opportunity to establish a 0.2 property millage increase to fund the Oakland County Art Institute Authority which contracts services with the Detroit Institute of Arts.
As a result of the millage passing, the authority negotiated a contract with the Detroit Institute of Arts and monitored the use of Oakland County funds.
For information about the authority, go online to review meeting minutes and view the schedule at www.oakgov.com/boc and click on the OC Art Institute Authority Minutes.
All meetings are open to the public. The next Oakland County Art Institute Authority meeting will be Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., in the Legislative Study, in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ Auditorium Wing, at 1200 North Telegraph Road, in Pontiac, Michigan.