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More talks needed on Montgomery TIF : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
More talks needed on Montgomery TIF

The Montgomery Village Board is moving forward with plans to develop a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district that would encompass about 700 acres along portions of Orchard and Aucutt roads on the village's west side.

By creating a TIF district, Village President Matt Brolley has said the village is seeking to attract more businesses to the village. Those businesses, Brolley noted during a public hearing last week, will generate tax revenues for the village and other local governmental agencies and also bring much needed jobs to the community.

The village plans to use funds that would result from the creation of the TIF district to pay for public improvements within the district. The improvements could include floodplain grading, wetland mitigation, construction of stormwater detention facilities and street improvements. The TIF fund would be managed by the village and all projects would be subject to village board approval.

But as we reported last week, officials with the two fire protection districts that serve the proposed TIF district area-Sugar Grove, and Montgomery and Countryside-are concerned they will suffer financially if the TIF district is created. Montgomery and Countryside Fire Chief Tom Meyers has said the proposed TIF district would serve to place a freeze on the amount of tax revenue his fire district can receive from the TIF designated properties for up to the next 23 years. (Under Illinois TIF law, any tax revenues generated from rising assessments in TIF districts are placed in a TIF fund to pay for public improvements in the TIF district.)

Meyers has noted that property values in his fire district have fallen sharply since the 2008 recession, which has already cost the agency thousands of dollars in needed revenue. The fire district is also counting on property values to rebound on all of the properties in the district in the coming years so the district has the funds it needs to maintain and improve its emergency paramedic and fire protection services, according to Meyers.

We believe Meyers has a very compelling argument, especially given the small size of his fire district and its existing budget challenges.

Brolley has said he expects the village board will vote on a motion to approve the TIF district in January or February. In the meantime, village officials and representatives with the two fire districts are expected to continue their discussions over ways the village could potentially accommodate the fire districts in the event the board approves the TIF district. Based on comments made during the public hearing by Steve Andersson, the village's attorney, there may be some room for accommodation.

We look forward to learning whether the village and the fire district can indeed work out a compromise. We believe Steve Jungermann, a village board member, summed up the situation succinctly from the board's perspective during last week's public hearing when he told the fire district representatives and the large audience at village hall, "In my mind there is going to be a TIF, but we just have to figure out a way to somehow get some money to the fire protection districts."

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