01/22/2013 09:33 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2013

Wayne County Communities Keeping Some Zoo Tax Money For Downtowns

During the past five years, the counties of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb have supported the Detroit Zoo with millions of tax dollars from a millage approved by voters in 2008. At the same time, many Wayne County communities have withheld more than $756,000 of the zoo's revenues to spend on their downtown projects -- and they're considering doing the same with the newly approved millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Zoo officials said they get all of the tax money they expect of the 0.10-mill tax from Oakland and Macomb counties -- but not from Wayne County. Since 2008, communities such as Grosse Pointe, Dearborn, Taylor and Van Buren Township have diverted a fraction of zoo-tax revenues to spend in their downtowns, on everything from a dog park and sidewalks to decorative pavers and streetlights, according to community officials.

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