Tax money meant for the Detroit Zoo is going elsewhere - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Tax money meant for the Detroit Zoo is being used to meet city budgets instead

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The city of Taylor keeps a portion of the zoo tax money to fund its Downtown Development Authority. The city of Taylor keeps a portion of the zoo tax money to fund its Downtown Development Authority.

By Andrea Isom
FOX 2 News

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) -- It was back in 2008 when voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties approved a millage to help fund the Detroit Zoo.

But instead of giving that money to the zoo, some communities are keeping some of the money for themselves.

Taylor is one city that's keeping a portion of the money. The city is using it to fund the Downtown Development Authority. The city's mayor says they have the right to do it. "Under the state statue created back in 1980, we have not only the authority to, but we have the responsibility to capture those taxes for those entities," says Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand.

"The Wayne County treasurer has not sent a letter out saying they're not supposed to capture it so I have sympathy for the plight of the mayor because property values are down, their revenue sharing has been cut from Lansing," said Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner. "So he has my sympathy, but I don't agree with his interpretation of the law. I think he's misinterpreting it and that money really needs to go to the zoo."

Zoo officials say the cities are withholding about $750,000 meant for the zoo. Lamarand says he has to look out for his city's best interest first.

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