by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Village Board on Oct. 20 discussed the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District map with the village’s TIF lawyer, Herb Klein.
A TIF District is a tool used by villages to spur economic development by taking the incremental tax the village receives for improving a pre-defined area. The additional tax money received is then used to further fund development costs within the TIF District.
The Oct. 20 meeting was meant to inform the trustees, as well as give them time to ask questions about the proposed map.
“This is the final map for the proposed TIF District,” Klein said, “While it is smaller than previous maps, it does go farther north than any of them, and still has the important areas.”
The important areas included in the map are those that are in need of infrastructure repairs, which can use the funds produced by the TIF.
“That is the reason for the TIF,” Village Board President Kathy Curtis said. “We are trying to implement this TIF because we are in need of major infrastructure repairs, not because we’ve made deals with developers.”
While developers did come to the board and suggest they implement a TIF to give them incentive to develop in Maple Park, Curtis said she was adamant about making sure residents of the village were aware of this.
“Some residents think we are doing this for developers,” Curtis said. “I want to make it very clear that we have not negotiated with developers. We are doing this so we can improve the infrastructure for our town. If a developer comes in and needs to plug into our infrastructure, they still have to pay for their part of it; that is their responsibility.”
“A lot of vacant lots have been included in the map for that reason,” Klein said. “There is a reason, that with incentive, the land could be developed that might not be otherwise.”
If the vacant lots were developed, that would help generate the TIF funds needed for the infrastructure needs.
“We really need to get the basics done,” Curtis said. “We really need to do road repairs, and if we are going to grow, we need to improve the sewer and water systems, too.”
The village will hold its final public hearing on Nov. 22, after which the TIF District can be passed as early as Dec. 6.