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DeKalb City Council to consider new TIF districts

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 12:28 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council will consider creating new tax increment financing districts at its next meeting Monday.

A preliminary report by PGAV Planners shows that areas along South Fourth Street and 2131-2211 Sycamore Road would qualify for a special tax mechanism that local governments can create to encourage economic development.

The report will be discussed at the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting at 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St. The regular City Council meeting is at 7 p.m.

In these districts, the amount of property tax that local taxing bodies receive is frozen at a base level for 23 years; the base value is the property value when the district was created.

Property tax revenue collected as property values increase in the district is captured in a special fund that can be used for economic development and public improvements.

The report is just preliminary, though, City Manager Mark Biernacki said.

“While this report is not definitive ... it does give reasonable prospects for these areas to be included in TIF districts,” Biernacki said.

Biernacki said they would need council direction on whether to pursue creating districts in these areas. The process takes four to six months.

The report looked at four qualification factors – property value growth, the deterioration of buildings in the area, how much land is covered in the area, and whether there are excessive numbers of vacancies in the area.

Based on these factors, creating tax increment financing districts along South Fourth Street and along the 2131-2211 Sycamore Road property was considered viable, while West Lincoln Highway and Greek Row were regarded as weak.

The number of new businesses along West Lincoln Highway, while limited, weakened that area’s viability for a special taxing district.

Meanwhile, the Greek Row area’s potential is largely determined by what kind of area it encompasses. City officials wanted to make a Greek Row district adjacent to DeKalb’s central district so that money can be transferred from one to the other, but the report states this does not appear to be possible.

The city has two existing TIF districts: One that encompasses Lincoln Highway and Sycamore Road, and another along Lincoln Highway going south to Taylor Street.

In the past, money from these special districts has been used to fund renovations at the Egyptian Theatre and to lure businesses like Olive Garden.

TIF districts have a lifespan of 23 years, which the Illinois General Assembly can extend once for 12 years.

Nine taxing bodies that would be affected by the creation of these districts have been notified of the report. However, the decision to create the districts rests with the city.

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