Board members and CEO Aundra Wallace planned how they would lobby council members to at least keep the $4.1 million set aside for Downtown development and potentially persuade them for more.
But, the council liaison said after the meeting, the odds are against the authority receiving more.
"Do I think the DIA is going to get additional money beyond what already was segregated for them? If I were giving it odds, no," council member Lori Boyer said.
Boyer said she thought Wallace's responses were "excellent" but a tight budget year will make it tough.
The Downtown fund was initially $9 million before the council Finance Committee combined it with another into a capital projects account last month. With an $11 million total, the committee used $6.9 million to purchase vehicles and computers for police and fire before returning $4.1 million to the Downtown fund.
Trying to convince the council to give them more money from the overall Capital Improvement Plan would be a hard sell because something else would have to be cut.
Getting money from the general could be harder.
"The pitch for that will probably fall on deaf ears, but perhaps not," she said.
The council established its tentative maximum millage rate, which leaves it about $14 million to potentially fund programs and services. Council members already have lined up at least 21 floor amendments totaling nearly $18 million.
Any changes to the budget will happen on the council floor when it finalizes the budget Sept. 24 before the start of the Oct. 1 fiscal year.
"The game is not over," Wallace told board members when seeking the unified message to present. "But, let's be honest, City Council has a tough job to do."
In addition to the $4.1 million, the authority will get an additional $1.5 million from the Southbank tax increment financing fund.
Yet, the combined $5.6 million is not enough to meet the demand of projects that are out there and on the way, board Chair Oliver Barakat said.
The board decided not to earmark funds for specific projects but instead give an analysis of how certain funding levels could be leveraged for results.
To better attract business, the authority also could ask the city to offer a Recapture Enhanced Value — a program used to refund taxes on property and investments made — or provide parking assistance and real estate discounts.
Boyer said the discussion of options to offer investors outside of just the funds in the Downtown fund is "absolutely" the response to give the business community.
Authority Vice Chair Jim Bailey, publisher of the Daily Record, also used the special meeting as an opportunity to discuss how the authority should be a "funnel" to incorporate the efforts of other Downtown advocates and groups, such as the Downtown Marketing Collaborative and Downtown Vision Inc.
Bailey described a system where the authority would act as a clearinghouse for downtown efforts. The set-up would improve communication and coordination between the authority and others.
"They don't know the first step, the place to go," Bailey said of groups working to better Downtown.
Board members generally supported the plan and agreed it was important to enhance the communication between the authority and Downtown groups.
The authority will invite the groups to determine how to best work together and improve communication.
For about a half-hour, it was as though the Downtown Investment Authority and its CEO were preparing for a test.