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updated: 5/7/2014 2:31 PM

Negotiations continue over controversial Wheeling TIF plan

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  • Wheeling officials are pushing forward with plans to establish a Tax Increment Financing district at the Town Center site they say is necessary to launch a proposed shopping and entertainment district along Dundee Road. Other local governments are threatening to sue over the plan.

      Wheeling officials are pushing forward with plans to establish a Tax Increment Financing district at the Town Center site they say is necessary to launch a proposed shopping and entertainment district along Dundee Road. Other local governments are threatening to sue over the plan.
    Rendering courtesy of Urban R2 Co.

 

Negotiations to avoid a lawsuit over Wheeling's plan to establish two Tax Increment Financing districts on the sites of failed TIFs continue, say representatives of the village and four other governing bodies threatening to sue over the proposal.

Village President Dean Argiris said this week a lawsuit would ruin chances for three major developments planned for the Town Center TIF district, but he is "confident" the village and the other governments will reach agreement.

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Dean Krone, the Arlington Heights attorney representing the four other local governments, said he is "hopeful" and has "negotiated these kinds of agreements many times in the past and have almost always been successful."

He represents Wheeling Township Elementary District 21, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, the Wheeling Park District and Indian Trails Library District, who all say they stand to lose significant revenues if the village moves forward with its TIF proposal.

The village board is scheduled to vote June 2 on the Town Center TIF, which would be located along Dundee Road in and around village-owned property that once held Wickes Furniture, and the Southeast TIF, near the Chicago Executive Airport.

The Town Center includes an entertainment, shopping and residential development that the village has been working on for years. The three announced projects will total more than $175 million in investment, according to village officials.

Argiris said he expects all seven members of the village board will vote in favor of the TIF plan.

If a TIF is created, property taxes from sites within the district are frozen at their current levels. Any additional revenues created through increases in property values over the next 23 years are deposited into a special fund controlled by the village. That money can be spent only on improvements within the district.

In a letter to the village, the school, library and park districts say that without an agreement to lessen the TIF's impact on their revenues, they will "consider all of our options, up to and including litigation."

Leaders of the four governments say the way Wheeling is starting new TIFs with similar boundaries to old ones amounts to extending TIFs beyond their legal expiration dates, an argument the village rejects.

Argiris said the village has shared TIF funds with other governments in the past, and will do so again in the future. However, he said the local governments' request to turn over a set percentage of the funds could hamper future development.

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