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Montgomery Board OKs west side TIF district : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery Board OKs west side TIF district
Village to rebate tax revenue increases on existing buildings

by John Etheredge


The Montgomery Village Board approved the creation of a 584 acre TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district on the village's west side in a series of three, 5-1 split ballots Monday evening.
The board approved the TIF district in an effort to spur business development along the village's Orchard and Aucutt road corridors.
The TIF district will be in effect for the next 23 years, as permitted under state law.
Village President Matt Brolley, who supported the creation of the TIF district but did not vote on the motions, noted the board's votes marked the culmination of a "very lengthy process" that began nearly two years ago.
There are a total of 83 mostly vacant parcels in the TIF district along with 33 buildings or other structures, according to information provided by Jerad Chipman, the village's senior planner.
As approved by the board, the 83 property owners in the TIF district will continue to pay property taxes to local taxing districts based on their current assessed value for up to 23 years. However, taxes the property owners will pay resulting from the increasing assessed value of their properties will be placed in a separate TIF fund that will be controlled by the village. The village, in turn, will use the TIF funds to pay for public improvements in the TIF district.
Among the projects the TIF funds could potentially pay for include flood control measures and other public infrastructure, including streets. By using TIF funds to pay for those improvements, village officials are hopeful the undeveloped properties will become more attractive to commercial and industrial businesses.
Over the past year, representatives of both the Montgomery and Countryside Fire Protection District and the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District had voiced objections to the creation of the TIF district. They charged the TIF district would serve to divert property tax revenues from their fire districts, which need them to pay for daily operational expenses.
During a public hearing on the TIF district in November, Chief Tom Meyers of the Montgomery and Countryside Fire Protection District, said the recession that started in 2008 had reduced the total assessed value of all properties in the 5.5 square mile fire district by $72 million, costing the agency thousands of dollars annually in property tax revenues.
Meyers said the fire district needs additional revenues in the coming years to maintain and improve the paramedic and fire service it currently provides to the district's 12,000 residents and businesses.
In response to the concerns expressed by the fire chiefs, the board voted 5-1 to approve a resolution Monday evening calling for the village to rebate property tax revenues on the incremental growth on existing buildings in the TIF district to the fire districts and the 13 other affected taxing districts, including the Oswego Public Library District.
Another resolution provisions calls for the village to make the rebate payments to the affected taxing districts on an annual basis for four-year terms. The annual rebate payment provision will renew automatically every four years thereafter unless acted upon by the board.
Brolley noted the board's passage of the resolution serves as an acknowledgment that village officials understand the financial pressures being faced by the fire district and other taxing districts.
Asked if the rebates will prove costly to the TIF fund, Jeff Zoephel, village administrator, said earlier this month, "No, not really because that's not what we're counting on for the TIF to be successful. We weren't counting on the increment on the existing buildings. We're looking for the new development that will occur in the TIF district as the place we're going to generate money to pay for the (public) improvements. That's why we felt this is a good way we can work with the fire districts and the other taxing districts without hurting the intent of the TIF district."
During Monday's board meeting, Meyers thanked Brolley, the board and village staff "for listening to our concerns and coming to a compromise that will hopefully assist us in the future."
Meyers also joined Brolley in publicly thanking Steve Andersson, village attorney, for his work in preparing the compromise resolution.
"It's going to help us on our future financial situation as far as the increments and when the taxes go up," he said, adding, "With that, I thank you for your compromise and I appreciate your support and your understanding of our situation."
Dr. Neil Schlupp, executive board chairman of the Montgomery Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), also thanked the board for voting to approve the TIF district.
Schlupp noted that the MEDC executive board had earlier prepared and submitted a letter in support of the TIF district to Brolley.
"We are excited to be part of this process and look forward to continuing to maintain our relationship with the village on this project," Schlupp said.
Board member Pete Heinz cast the lone negative ballot on each of the three motions creating the TIF district.
Heinz did not comment on the TIF district during Monday's meeting, but during a public hearing on the issue in November he said he had been opposed to the TIF district since it was first proposed by village staff. Heinz pledged at that time to continue to oppose it.
The TIF district is the second approved by the village. In 2006 the board approved the creation of a TIF district on a flood-prone parcel along the north side of U.S. Route 30, between Fifth Street and Goodwin Drive.
The only structure to be built in the TIF district to date is the Oswego Public Library District's Montgomery Campus Library. The village obtained the property for the library under terms of the TIF agreement and then donated it to the library district. The Montgomery Campus Library opened in 2009.

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