by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—At a second Maple Park Public Hearing to discuss the village’s proposed implementation of a TIF District held last Thursday, the Maple Park Village Board updated the residents on the current status of the project and answered their questions, as well as hear some of their concerns.
Once again in attendance was Herb Klein, of the Jacob & Klein Law Firm, the village’s TIF attorney.
“We’re still working off of the map done for the survey, not the map for the final plan,” Klein said. “The map is not final yet; there are still some discrepancies we are work- ing out.”
As the TIF is described as a tool to spur develop- ment, the village wants to be sure it includes the areas where the funds raised by the proposed TIF can be used for capital improvements, such as street, sewer and stormwater system improvements.
“It’s important we keep contigui- ty in the map,” Klein said. “Especially keeping it contiguous to the sewer plant, so the village can expand it with the TIF funds.”
Because this meeting was meant primarily to hear from the residents of the village, some residents voiced their opposition to the TIF, with the main reason being the freezing of the tax rates that the taxing bodies would receive, for up to 23 years.
“If we have a TIF implemented and have our rates frozen; if 2,000 new residents moved in, we would not be able to provide anywhere near the same level of service we currently do,” said Sukey Blake, Director of the Maple Park Public Library.
Representatives from the Maple Park Fire Department and the Virgil Township also expressed similar concerns.
“The taxing bodies are the ones who are burdened by this TIF,” said Judy Yagen, Vir- gil Township Supervisor. “I’d like the board to really reconsider, as it’s hard for us as taxing bodies to consider.”
The board then tried to address some of those concerns.
“Once the money starts flowing, we can then enter intergovernmental agreements with the taxing bodies and provide them with funds they need,” Village President Kathy Curtis said. Klein also addressed some concerns, by reminding residents of the potential positives of a TIF District.
“One of the most important things to remember about a TIF is that it is completely local, and if there are concerns, residents know who they can talk to,” Klein said. “Also, once the growth starts, there is massive job creation potential, which will help with unemployment.”
The village continues work on the proposed TIF District and will hold two more meetings in the near future; a Joint Review Board, and another Public Hearing.
“While the Joint Review Board isn’t a pub- lic hearing, I’m not going to keep residents from attending. It is not a public hearing, but they can sit in and observe,” Klein said.
The purpose of the Joint Review Board is for one representative from each taxing body to look over the proposed TIF District and vote on if the factors used in the developed plan meet the requirements.
The Joint Review Board will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 26, while the next Public Hear- ing will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The earliest the proposed TIF can be passed is Dec. 6, at that month’s Village Board meet- ing.