I noticed a Chicago Tribune article on Monday by Susan Kuczka about more school districts fighting a Tax Increment Financing district.
Other school districts may have been ahead of Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 and High School District 155. If so, I wasn’t paying attention because my tax bill was not in jeopardy of being hiked by a mayor and city council whose fate I have no influence over.
If you are new to the subject of TIFs, it’s a method through which cities and villages can grab all increased tax revenue from property for 23 years (or even more, if they can get the General Assembly to pass an extension).
The taxes that school, park, junior college conservation and other tax districts, including county and township governments are frozen for that period of time.
All the extra revenue goes to city government to dispense pretty much as they wish within the TIF district. The city fathers and mothers talk about using it for “infrastructure,” but in Elgin developers have gotten massive direct subsidies to make their river front housing developments more profitable.
In any event, Monday’s Tribune headline read
Mall not worth tax loss, school officials sayThat’s pretty much what District 155 said about the Main Street and Route 14/Vulcan Lakes projects. District 47’s board only authorized opposition to the Vulcan Lakes district.
Ironically, it was not because the two school districts would lose any tax dollars.
While they would not get the increased tax revenue from the TIF districts for the next 23 years, since both are below their maximum tax rates because of the ratcheting down effect of the Property Tax Cap, both would just raise their tax rates on everybody.
That means you and me and everyone else living in any tax district to which the TIF district properties pay taxes would have our tax rates and, therefore, bills hiked so the city fathers and mothers can play economic development games with the real estate tax dollars being diverted from the TIF.
In Lindenhurst, a town of 14,000, village officials was a town center. Quaintly, they will call it “Village Green.” It will be on 190 acres at the intersection of Route 45 and Grand Avenue.
Not exactly a shabby location.
Grayslake High School District 127, Woodland Grade School District 50 and Millburn Grade School District 24 are objecting. The schools estimate a tax loss of $141 million over the 23 years to local tax districts.
In Crystal Lake’s case the schools forced a 3/5-majority vote for approval on one of the TIF districts.
In neighboring Cary, the Village President Steve Lamal marshaled other tax districts having less at stake and managed to put down Grade School District 26’s and District 155’s revolt. Not that the village president had to worry about whether the vote were a simple or a 3/5-majority.
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Photo is of the old Cary village hall on Route 14 that is now in Cary's new TIF district.
This was first posted on McHenry County Blog, where an exploration of State Rep. Jack Frank's attempt to elect a Democrat to the McHenry County Board continues.