by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday held a public hearing regarding the village’s proposal of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district designation for Sugar Grove Industrial Redevelopment Project Area No. 1.
The village’s current proposed TIF district is slated to cover 324 acres, which is considerably smaller than the 1,800-acre TIF district that was proposed last summer and then canceled in early September.
Mike Hoffman of Teska Associates, the company that designed the new TIF district redevelopment plan for the village, gave a short presentation prior to the public hearing and said that 81 percent of the new TIF district area is in Sugar Grove, with the other 19 percent in Big Rock Township.
“One of the comments that we heard last time was the area was too big. This (new TIF district) is only 18 percent of the original TIF area,” Hoffman said. “Most of this area was included in the original proposal.”
Hoffman said that there were new parcels added to the current TIF, between Route 30 and the Burlington Northern Railroad.
“The reason for that is these properties are zoned industrial, would be suitable for development, and certainly could benefit from location within the TIF district and having an added benefit of potential rail access on the Burlington Northern Railroad,” he said.
Hoffman also highlighted a group of included parcels that meet conservation requirements for establishment of a TIF district. He said these areas were excluded from the previous TIF district boundary.
A TIF district is an economic tool intended 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.
If approved, the TIF district would be in effect for 23 years.
Once the public comment portion of the hearing began, Big Rock Township Supervisor Sandy Carr, Sugar Grove Fire Protection Chief Marty Kunkel and Ray Warchol, representing the Big Rock Park District, all stepped to the podium to state that they didn’t support the newly proposed TIF District.
“TIFs are a good thing in strong economic times, but we’re in a very weak economic time,” Kunkel said. “All of us taxing bodies are struggling for every dollar of income that we can stretch out and find, and 96 percent of our revenue is from real estate tax revenue.”
Hinckley-Big Rock School Superintendent Dr. James Hammack and Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler also spoke during the hearing, asking the board to look into a revenue-sharing agreement with Sugar Grove taxing bodies.
“If TIF is to truly work as an economic incentive, it needs to be an incentive that actually works for all taxing entities,” Schuler said.
After the hearing concluded, Village President Sean Michels said the board will consider the public’s comments during the hearing.
“(Revenue sharing) has been strongly considered by staff and by the board … it’s something that’s on top of our list,” he said.