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updated: 9/1/2011 5:10 PM

Sugar Grove drops tax-incentive plan for industrial development

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Sugar Grove has dropped a plan to offer tax incentives for industrial development.

The village has canceled the remainder of the public hearing on the proposed tax-increment financing district near the Aurora Municipal Airport. The hearing, which started Aug. 16, was to continue Tuesday.

"The board thought it best to revisit the size and scope" of the proposal, said Village President Sean Michels, and saw no sense in continuing the current public hearing.

About 100 people attended the August session, and many criticized the proposal. Critics said the proposed area, at 1,800 acres, was too big. Others wondered where the village would initially find money to put in infrastructure such as sewers and water, that would attract development, even if the money was to be repaid out of taxes on the land.

Kaneland School District 302 officials criticized the length of the TIF, which could have lasted up to 23 years. Current property taxes distributed to taxing districts would have been frozen, while increased taxes due to increases in the property values would have been used to pay for the improvements.

They also questioned whether the whole area was blighted. Formerly under state law, TIFs were designed to spur improvement of blighted areas. But the state now allows towns to create TIFs on non-blighted land if the town meets certain conditions, including unemployment rates above the national rate. Most of the land in the proposed TIF area was vacant.

Michels stressed that "the board really hadn't made up its mind" about doing the TIF. It will continue to work with a consultant to develop a new TIF proposal, one he envisions as being smaller.