The City of Ann Arbor chose to outsource economic development to Ann Arbor SPARK at a rate of $75,000 per year rather than staff it internally or not have it covered at all. This aligns with economic development best practices, consolidating resources to ensure the most efficient and effective use of funds. These funds support efforts related to business expansion and attraction plus marketing the city as a great place to locate a business. Ann Arbor SPARK reports out as part of the city council’s annual budget process, detailing how the funding received from the city was used.
As the economic development engine for the region, many other municipalities within Washtenaw County also provide funding to SPARK.
Throughout the state, it is customary for other municipalities to contract out for economic development services. For example, Livingston County (population 182,000) through its Economic Development Council has chosen to contract SPARK for economic development services, at an annual amount of $367,028 during the most recent year.