While representatives of school districts and other taxing bodies questioned Wheeling's right to establish a tax increment financing district on the site of one it had recently closed, both sides expressed hope after Monday's village board meeting that an agreement can be reached.
Wheeling officials say they need the Town Center II TIF district to provide incentives for development of an entertainment district and housing on the site of the former Wickes building as well as two housing developments planned for the surrounding area. The village owns the Wickes site at 351 W. Dundee Road west of the village hall, and officials say they are close to a final agreement with Urban R2, the chosen developer.
Village President Dean Argiris was the only member of the board who commented after a public hearing where representatives of the other taxing bodies spoke.
"It's always been our intention to continue to talk to the other governments," he said. "We don't want it to look like we're dictating or it's a slam dunk. We're a community, and we have a vision that will help the whole community."
Dan Petro, vice president of Northwest Suburban High School District 214 board, said after the meeting that the village's history indicates it will be "collaborative" and reach an agreement with the other taxing bodies.
"We are in six towns (Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling), and they all have TIFs," Petro said. "We have to object to this precedent. Legal action is certainly an option."
The board has until about April 21 to persuade representatives of the public bodies -- District 214, Wheeling Township Elementary District 21, Wheeling Park District and Indian Trails Library District -- to approve the TIF district. Otherwise, the measure will require the votes of five out of six trustees and the village president. Argiris said after the meeting there are enough votes on his board for approval.
TIF districts are usually in place for 23 years, but the legislature can extend them 12 years. The Town Center TIF district that Wheeling terminated existed for about 10 years. The other taxing bodies say that Wheeling's plan could be seen as circumventing the law.