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DeKalb City Council to vote on 2 TIF districts

Published: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The creation of two new tax increment financing districts will be addressed by the DeKalb City Council when it meets at 6 p.m. Monday.

Creation of a small district, initially containing just two parcels – an abandoned building that once was a veterinary office at 2131 Sycamore Road, and the Northern Illinois University Art Annex at 2211 Sycamore Road – is to be voted on by aldermen.

Jennifer Diedrich, the city’s economic development coordinator, said the veterinary property has been removed from the proposed Sycamore Road district because it has not been annexed into the city. It could be added into the TIF district after being annexed into the city, she said.

A second, larger district on South Fourth Street, from Taylor Avenue to Fairlane Avenue, is on Monday’s agenda. Diedrich is recommending that vote be postponed until January.

“We’re still working with the school district on this potential district,” Diedrich said.

The school district’s stance on the proposed South Fourth Street TIF district has been that this is not the right time. Andrea Gorla, assistant superintendent of business and finance for the school district, said she feared the long-term effects of the larger TIF on the tax rate.

The city’s Joint Review Board previously recommended creating a 15 percent surplus share through the proposed Sycamore Road TIF district, which would funnel a total of $792,136 to the other taxing bodies affected over the district’s 23-year lifespan.

No similar share was recommended for the proposed Fourth Street district.

The council conducted a public hearing on the proposed TIF districts on Aug. 12. At that time, the DeKalb School District supported the proposed Sycamore Road district, but not the Fourth Street district.

TIF districts are a special mechanism local governments can use to spur development in blighted areas. As development occurs and property values rise, increased property tax revenue is diverted to a special account that can be used for improvements for 23 years.

Although the special taxing districts can generate money for upgrades, they also divert money away from taxing bodies such as schools, which rely heavily on local property tax revenue.

The proposed Sycamore Road district is adjacent to the existing Central Area district, which includes portions of Sycamore Road and downtown DeKalb. One property in that district, the former site of Small’s Furniture City, now owned and being redeveloped by John Pappas, could be removed from the central district and added to the Sycamore Road district.

“If the council doesn’t plan to vote to approve the Sycamore Road TIF district, they shouldn’t vote to remove this property from the central area, because it would no longer be in a TIF district,” Diedrich said.

If you go

What: DeKalb City Council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Monday.

Where: DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. 4th St.

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