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DeKalb City Council nixes South Fourth Street TIF plan

Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 11:46 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 3:02 p.m. CST

DeKALB – Plans for a special taxing district to improve South Fourth Street were abandoned Monday during the DeKalb City Council meeting.

DeKalb aldermen voted 7-0 to terminate plans for a tax increment financing district on South Fourth Street from Taylor Avenue to Fairlane Avenue. Fifth Ward Alderman Ron Naylor was absent.

Terminating the TIF plans came out of a recommendation from city staff that the area would be ideal for individual projects, rather than the larger area that the aldermen were considering. Redevelopment in the area will still be explored despite the vote, city staff and aldermen said.

“I think maybe the timing isn’t right and we need to focus on specific goals,” 4th Ward Alderman Bob Snow said. “To me, I’m looking at it as postponement, not necessarily killing it permanently.”

TIF districts enable municipalities to encourage development in blighted areas by freezing the property tax revenues that local governments receive for as long as 23 years. As the value of the property in the district increases, the increased property tax revenues are diverted to a special account and used for additional improvements.

City officials expected to collect $3.6 million in increment revenues, compared to $14 million in proposed projects there. The more than $10 million gap was part of 3rd Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash’s vote to terminate the plans.

“I think without the anchor development coming in to help generate that TIF, we just don’t have the money to do the things that need [to be] done,” Lash said.

Aldermen have been considering new TIF districts for more than a year. In January 2013, the city paid PGAV Architects $46,000 to conduct a feasibility study on the South Fourth Street and Sycamore Road TIF districts. Although both TIF districts have died, Mayor John Rey told the Chronicle the money was well spent.

“The study gave us the analysis and background,” Rey said. “It gave us a more thorough understanding of the area.”

After the meeting City Attorney Dean Frieders said specific TIF projects could entail spending money on another study or be reviewed by city staff without extra expense depending on the project.

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