To the Editor:
The issue at hand is tax increment financing. This is a program geared to work with tax dollars that have been withheld from the various governmental entities for the purpose of collecting these monies so they can be expended on local projects that will rejuvenate an area. Many have questioned the impact TIF has had on the community over the years. Where has TIF been successful? Where has it failed? Where are the records of the details of the various TIF projects? Where is the accounting of the dollars collected and expended? How many dollars have been directly expended on specific projects? How many dollars have been expended on administrative costs? These questions/concerns need to be addressed.
The city of DeKalb is seeking to create a new TIF district. As this new TIF No. 3 was presented to the Joint Review Board, which is the advisory board that reviews TIF matters, the questions/concerns surfaced yet again. The JRB members include representation from DeKalb School District 428, Kishwaukee College, DeKalb Township, DeKalb County, DeKalb Park District, city of DeKalb, and citizen participants. Obviously, there is a realization that dialogue needs to continue. If mistakes have been made, they should be corrected.
There is no question in my mind that all the details of TIF have not been shared. The city of DeKalb should have done a better job of keeping all TIF information up front and center.
Also, the JRB as a unit should have pushed harder to obtain information. This means that WE must all work together to get to the truth. It is not only the JRB, or the elected officials, but it is the public, the taxpayers. Contact your representatives on City Council. Contact the mayor. Talk to your neighbors. Write a letter to the editor. Attend a meeting.
At this point, frankly, unless all these questions/concerns are answered, the DeKalb City Council should not proceed with approving a TIF No. 3. Let’s do what we can to demand the answers.
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