by David Maas
Maple Park—The Maple Park Village Board held a special meeting on Tuesday to introduce the public to their proposed implementation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
In attendance was Herb Klein, of the Jacob & Klein Law Firm, the village’s TIF lawyer. Klein did most of the speaking, as this meeting was intended to educate the public.
“We have represented many villages in setting up TIF Districts,” Klein said, “We have helped set up around 125 TIF districts in Illinois.”
Currently, the district is in its infancy, and has not yet been evaluated for qualification.
“Right now, we are still in the “study area” phase,” Klein said, “These are the areas, in meeting with the trustees, that were decided to be potential areas to include in the TIF District.”
The study area includes the downtown area of Maple Park, as well as some newer areas the village hopes will be used for future development.
“The TIF is an economic development tool,” Klein said. “It’s available to the village to help spur the local economy.”
The board explained that the TIF is not a new tax, nor does it increase property taxes.
“The only way tax rates increase is if a property is reassessed, or the existing tax rates raise,” Klein said.
The TIF is designed to give control of funds from taxes to the village, to use for various needs, such as infrastructure work or upkeep.
“What the TIF does is it preserves the base property tax, and any increase is then given to the village,” said Klein. “An example is, if the Fire Department gets $500 from real estate taxes, they will keep getting that $500 for the entirety of the implementation of the TIF District. If the tax rate rises, the village will get those additional funds. That is the increment.”
With the TIF, the board hopes to stimulate commercial, light industrial and residential economic development to help the village grow.
“We want to do this as an effort to stabilize and increase local population, employment opportunities, expand the local tax base, and manage growth in the community,” said Cathy Kurtis, Maple Park Village President.
As part of the special meeting, the community was allowed to ask questions and voice concerns. While most residents were there to learn about the TIF, some were there to voice their opposition.
“This has been brought to the board in the past, and it wasn’t passed then,” said Laurie Hyatt, former board member. “And I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”
A TIF does not require a referendum, therefore it is up to the board to decide if the TIF is passed and implemented.
“The nice thing about a TIF is that it is local,” Klein said, “If you have questions or concerns, you know who to talk to, you know all of the board members.”
A public hearing will also be held, once the plan is further along, giving residents of Maple Park the ability to voice their questions and concerns the board as a whole.
The board is hoping to have the final plan finished by Friday, Aug. 26. It could then be implemented as early as November.