Village plans to discuss concerns before restarting process
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District is officially off the table for now. It likely won’t be out of commission for long, however.
The village announced last week that it was canceling the TIF District public hearing scheduled for Sept. 6, thus putting an end to the village’s current TIF District proposal. The Sept. 6 hearing was meant to be a continuation of the public hearing held before the village’s regular board meeting on Aug. 16. A proposed TIF District cannot continue without a completed public hearing portion.
Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said during the Village Board meeting on Tuesday that he envisions having some dialogue with different village taxing bodies to find out if their concerns with the TIF District can be addressed. According to Eichelberger, the size of the TIF District, slated to cover 1,800 acres, was the main concern of Sugar Grove taxing bodies opposed to the TIF District.
Eichelberger said he predicts the TIF District will come back in a different form, with the formal process of the TIF District proposal restarting sometime within the next six to eight weeks.
“And if it does come back, that means the JRB (Joint Review Board) will be reconvened,” he said.
A TIF District is an economic tool that seeks to stimulate economic development by taking the incremental tax the village receives for improving a projected area. Those dollars are then used to fund the development costs. Simply put, businesses within the boundaries of the TIF district are provided with added municipal support and infrastructure. The TIF District proposed by Sugar Grove was projected to cover the 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).
Trustee Kevin Geary said he was eager to see what a TIF District was about after it was initially proposed by the village.
“Early on, I was concerned by the size of the area that was being identified—1,800 acres, and the amount of money that was associated with that, which was $128 million,” he said. “I have to say that I was a little disappointed that the village didn’t do a better job getting more information out to help educate the public. Certainly, as a trustee, I was left with some questions where I had to seek out some of my own answers, as well. So I wasn’t totally surprised by the public outcry, because they didn’t know exactly what this thing was. But they certainly made their point clear: whatever is designed, they don’t want to be on the hook if it fails for whatever reason.”
Resident turnout was overwhelming during the Aug. 16 public hearing, prompting the board to move its meeting from Village Hall to the basement of the Sugar Grove Community House. Several of the residents in attendance voiced their concerns about the length of the proposed TIF District (23 years), as well as the size of the projected area included in the proposal.
“I think that history has shown that the boards that have been (in Sugar Grove) look out for the greater community, not just the village,” Eichelberger said. “We want to do what’s right for the community as a whole. If a TIF is put in place, I think it’s a good tool to have.”