Another step forward

Review Board rules proposed TIF district satisfies requirements
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The second Joint Review Board meeting to discuss the village’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district proposal was held Monday at Village Hall. It allowed local taxing bodies an opportunity to ask questions that lingered after the initial TIF district proposal meeting on July 11.

Representatives of taxing bodies, including Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel and Sugar Grove Township official Dan Nagle, expressed their concerns with the TIF district, which is an economic device Sugar Grove wants to implement in an effort to stimulate economic development by using the incremental tax the village receives for improving a specific area, and then putting those funds toward development costs.

According to a village document, the proposed TIF district is meant to spur non-residential development in order to generate local jobs and expand the tax base, and would be in effect for 23 years.

Despite the objections of a few taxing bodies, the Joint Review Board voted 5-3 to confirm that the proposed TIF district indeed satisfies the requirements, objectives and eligibility criteria of the TIF Act.

“These Joint Review Board meetings are meant to ensure that municipalities do talk to the other taxing districts so that they’re at least aware of what is going on,” Village President Sean Michels said. “It was a good forum, and I truly heard what other taxing bodies were saying, with concerns about the size of the (TIF) district. It’s probably their paramount concern.”

A village document outlines the boundaries of the TIF district, which is projected to cover the industrial area that stretches from Route 47 (north) to an area near the Burlington Northern Railroad (south), and Aurora Municipal Airport (east) to village limits (west).

The size of the TIF district is certainly an issue for Kunkel, who expressed concern during the meeting that the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District would be unable to get the taxes it needs to expand its facilities while the TIF district is in effect.

“We’ve assured him that if we get some heavy users that would require an addition to the Fire Protection District, because they need specialized equipment, then we could incorporate those as part of the TIF,” Michels said. “We’re trying to be open and work with the different taxing bodies to show them that they won’t be necessarily shut out.”

Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe said the proposed TIF district meets the letter of the law and the criteria identified in the statute, if even by the slightest of margins.

“According to the voting parameters, I felt compelled to vote ‘yes,’” she said. “That being said, I’m not sure that, although the letter of the law as required was met, if the spirit of the TIF statute—centered around redevelopment rather than new development—was met.”

Michels said the proposed TIF district will next be brought up for public hearing during the regular Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

“I don’t know if we’ll close the public hearing that night, (as) we’ll listen to what the public has to say, as well,” he said. “I think we might have to keep it open for two meetings.”

Krauspe said Kaneland’s voice will be heard at the meeting next month.

“Kaneland will be vocal (at) the Aug. 16 public hearing, as it represents a significant loss in revenue over 23 years, when our revenues, along with those of all our taxpayers, are quite limited,” she said.