Montgomery panel reviews TIF district proposals : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Montgomery panel reviews TIF district proposals|
|Two firms selected as finalists to prepare feasibility study |
|by John Etheredge|
Village of Montgomery officials are interested in creating a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district along Orchard Road on the village's west side in an effort to attract new tax and job generating businesses to the area.
But before a TIF district can be created, the village is required under state law to have a feasibility study completed to determine which-if any-of the properties proposed for inclusion in the TIF district qualify for the designation.
On Monday evening, the village's TIF district steering committee reviewed six requests for proposals (RFP) from land planning and financial consulting firms interested in completing the TIF study for the village.
Of the six received, the committee unanimously agreed to call in two for interviews: Teska Associates, Inc., of Evanston; and Kane McKenna Associates of Chicago.
Teska Associates is no stranger to the village. In 2008-2009 the firm prepared and the village board approved a transit oriented development plan for the village's downtown that recommended the site for a village Metra station.
Kane McKenna, meanwhile, has completed numerous TIF feasibility studies for Chicago area municipalities, including one for the Village of Oswego three years ago.
Jeff Zoephel, acting village administrator, said the committee was impressed with all six of the proposals it received, but the proposals from Teska and Kane McKenna scored the highest on an evaluation matrix developed by village staff.
Zoephel said he expects the village board will vote to hire one of the firms either at their regular business meeting Aug. 27 or on Sept. 10.
The firm hired by the village will study the proposed TIF district area and determine if it is eligible under state law for the designation.
"They'll also look at the proposed TIF area and see how it might develop and the types of businesses that would locate there. Will it be industrial, manufacturing or commercial or a mix? That's what they'll consider in the study," Zoephel said.
"They'll also look at how much of a (tax) increment the area would generate so we can determine if it would even generate enough to do the types of projects that we need done in that area," he said.
Zoephel confirmed the exact boundaries of the TIF district have yet to be determined.
He suggested one possibility would be designating two separate areas as TIF districts, one near Orchard Road and the other further east off Knell Road.
"It may be one big one, it might be two smaller ones or we might just concentrate on the Orchard Road TIF-that's kind of what we are going to be looking to the consultants to help us with," Zoephel said.
Village officials along with members of the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) Business Climate Enhancement Committee have proposed a TIF district be created for vacant properties along the Orchard Road corridor as a means to attract businesses that will generate tax revenues and jobs for the village.
As recommended by village staff earlier this year, the board approved a $20,000 line item in the village's current fiscal year budget to finance the TIF study.
Under state law, the assessments of properties designated as TIF districts are frozen at a base level for up to 23 years. The property owners continue to pay taxes on their properties to the local taxing districts calculated on the base level assessment. However, revenues generated by new development in the TIF district are collected by the village and used to pay for public improvements in the TIF district.
Village officials have said previously that proceeds from the TIF district could be used to pay for infrastructure improvements, including a compensatory water storage system that would make properties now located in the Blackberry Creek floodplain that extends on either side of Orchard Road eligible for development.
Another infrastructure item that could be paid for with TIF revenues would be a bridge that would span Blackberry Creek on a proposed extension of Aucutt Road west from Orchard Road. The proposed bridge is recommended in the village's long-range transportation improvement plan.
The infrastructure improvements would help make the properties more attractive to potential business developers, village and MEDC members believe.
To date, Zoephel said he has not heard any opposition voiced to the possibility of the village creating a TIF district.
Official in contact
with property owners
Zoephel said he has been in frequent contact with some property owners in the proposed TIF district area.
"They are following it closely because I believe they think it could help them develop their properties," he said.
Local school districts have been a frequent opponent of TIF districts since the Illinois General Assembly first passed legislation allowing for the creation of TIF districts in the 1970s.
Typically school districts object to TIF districts because they serve to freeze the amount of property tax revenue the school districts can receive until the TIF district expires.
The properties proposed for inclusion in Montgomery's proposed TIF district are all located north of U.S. Route 30 in the West Aurora School District.
Pete Kerl, assistant superintendent for operations for the school district, told members of the MEDC Business Climate Enhancement Committee in April the school district has worked with other government entities on TIF districts previously and "managed to come to some type of an agreement that is beneficial to both (parties)."
Kerl noted that if the village were to allow homes to be built within the TIF district, the school district would be responsible for educating children who would live in those homes.
During a village board meeting in May, board member Denny Lee said he supports the creation of a TIF district along the village's Orchard Road corridor.
"Those properties have been there a long time. I don't believe they will develop without a TIF," Lee said.