Public bodies air concerns during final public hearing
by David Maas
MAPLE PARK—At the final public hearing regarding the proposed Maple Park TIF District, the Board of Trustees heard more comments and concerns from the residents, as well as representatives from the various taxing bodies affected.
While the proposed TIF District doesn’t increase taxes itself, some are wary about how it may affect the village’s residents.
“I’d really like to make sure the village understands, while the TIF doesn’t impact taxes, if we need to pass a referendum for more money, people outside of the TIF would see that increase in taxes as well,” Fire Chief Kevin Peterson said.
A TIF District is an economic tool intended to spur development in a defined area. Tax revenue is frozen for property within a TIF District’s boundaries, and any increase in tax revenue generated from inside the district is earmarked to help further development within the district. With the TIF District’s lifespan up to 23 years, various representatives from other taxing bodies expressed concern with the idea.
Peterson urged the board to think about the future of the Fire Department.
“You’ll be looking at us to service new developments,” Peterson said, “The cost of the new equipment our department might need in the future would be very expensive.”
Peterson stated that the cost of a Ladder Truck alone could be over $1 million, with the possibility of multiple other vehicles and department upgrades.
While the board knows the taxing bodies are afraid of the possibility of providing services to more locations while working with the same level of funding, they believe they can help ease the fear.
“As development occurs, there will be different impacts on the different taxing bodies. We can look at those impacts when they happen, so we can best handle the taxing bodies,” Village President Kathy Curtis said.
Kaneland School District Superintendent Jeff Schuler was also in attendance, and said that depending on how the TIF District progresses, the district could either benefit or be hurt.
“While we may benefit from the economical development spurred by the TIF, if it is implemented for the full 23 years, we will not,” Schuler said. “We will see a huge impact on our district, not just our children.”
Judy Yagen, representative of Virgil Township, also fears the length of the proposed TIF.
“We will become victims,” Yagen said. “We will feel victimized by the plan, because Maple Park will take our revenues that we need to provide our services for the next 23 years. It’s too long.”
“We are aware of these fears,” Curtis said. “But the proposed TIF would potentially give us the ability (to) complete the repairs and upgrades the village needs.”
With this final public hearing, the board has now fulfilled all of its requirements prior to voting on the actual creation of the TIF District. That vote could occur at the Dec. 6 Village Board meeting.