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Article updated: 2/12/2014 5:12 AM

Elk Grove residents react to TIF proposal

Elk Grove Village officials are proposing a tax increment financing district for a 917-acre portion of the business park along the Busse Road and Elmhurst Road corridors.

Elk Grove Village officials are proposing a tax increment financing district for a 917-acre portion of the business park along the Busse Road and Elmhurst Road corridors.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Elk Grove Village officials faced questions from residents and business owners Tuesday about the effect a proposed tax increment financing district would have on them if approved by the village board.

Officials have proposed the TIF in an effort to revitalize a 917-acre portion of the village's business park, primarily through the Busse Road and Elmhurst Road corridors.

Money from the TIF would be used to pay for redevelopment efforts in an area that officials say has become home to aging buildings, streets and other infrastructure.

A draft redevelopment plan proposes $860 million in possible projects within the TIF district, which could include the redevelopment of substandard, obsolete or vacant buildings, roadway construction and repaving, public utility improvements, demolition and site preparation, environmental remediation, marketing, relocation, and job training costs.

Mayor Craig Johnson said many of the funds would be dedicated to roadway and stormwater improvements.

If the village board votes to enact the TIF, property taxes paid to local governments would be frozen at their current levels for as many as 23 years. Taxes above those levels collected within the area would go into a special village fund to pay for improvements.

During a public hearing on the proposed TIF, Ron Behm, a member of the village's industrial/commercial revitalization commission, said he opposes the TIF because it primarily encompasses an area of smaller buildings that, when renovated, wouldn't provide a significant increase in overall property values. By contrast, he said, TIFs are more effective when there's vacant land used for new construction, and therefore a larger swing in property values.

"An ill-fated TIF district will not likely perform as anticipated," Behm said. "The last thing we need is confusion and negative PR in our business park which would reverse the positive momentum in our village."

Johnson pointed out that the industrial/commercial revitalization commission recommended some $250 million in infrastructure improvements and other redevelopment projects throughout the park in its 2011 update to the village's business park master plan. Among the ways to fund the work, according to the plan, was to establish a TIF district.

"The TIF is like a pebble being dropped in the water," Johnson said. "The improvements will have a ripple effect throughout the entire business park."

Tim Costin, a resident who filed seven Freedom of Information Act requests with the village for information on the proposed TIF, took exception to the village's TIF eligibility report, saying it lacked specifics on how the money would be spent. He also opposes the TIF because he said it could be used to provide "subsidies (that) give an unfair economic advantage to one company over another."

And, he argued the TIF would be a "stealth tax," since he said taxing bodies will have no choice but to raise taxes to keep up with inflation over the course of 23 years.

Johnson said implementation of the TIF wouldn't result in a tax increase.

During a joint review board meeting last month of all taxing bodies within the proposed district, a vote of 8-1 was recorded in favor of the TIF, with only Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 voting in opposition.

The village board could vote on the adoption of TIF ordinances as soon as Feb. 25.

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