Local districts vote 7-1 against Hoffman Estates tax break

The vast majority of taxing bodies potentially affected by a proposed $21 million tax refund for a development in western Hoffman Estates dislike the idea so much they rejected it twice Tuesday.

Members of the joint review board for the tax increment financing district requested by the developer for a 184-acre site at routes 59 and 72 first voted 7-1 against approving the eligibility for such an incentive, then voted 7-1 to actively reject its eligibility.

But even with two such votes against it, the proposal legally receives a 30-day period for the developer to adapt the request before the joint review board meets again at 1:30 p.m. April 18 at Hoffman Estates village hall.

And if the ultimate vote is still against the TIF district, the Hoffman Estates village board can still approve it with a supermajority.

The breakdown of who voted or abstained on each side differed slightly between Tuesday's votes, however.

The Hoffman Estates Park District first voted in favor of the TIF district's eligibility, then abstained from the vote to reject it. The village of Hoffman Estates abstained on the first vote and voted no on the second.

Those who voted against the incentive both times were Barrington Unit District 220, Community Unit District 300, the Barrington Area Library, Harper Community College, Elgin Community College, Barrington Township and the Barrington Hills Park District.

The Cook County representative who called into the meeting had to sign off before the votes, while Hoffman Estates Village Clerk Bev Romanoff, who serves as the citizen representative on the board, abstained both times.

The votes leaves uncertain the plans for a public hearing on the village's annexation of the land at the Hoffman Estates village board meeting at 7 p.m. April 3.

Though the hearing must stay scheduled, the developer could decide to request its continuance at that time to another date, Hoffman Estates Village Manager Jim Norris said.

Joining the voices against the tax incentive for the residential and commercial development were the village presidents of South Barrington and Barrington Hills, a trustee of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District, and several residents of the affected taxing bodies.

South Barrington resident Rubina Nguyen voiced a common sentiment in her criticism that the tax break would leave the school districts without the funding needed to educate the students who would move into the development.

“Our children will suffer,” Nguyen said. “If the TIF is approved, it's just a fancy word, in our opinion, for tax evasion.”

The school districts' main argument against the land's eligibility for a TIF district is that it doesn't meet even the basic requirement of being vacant as legally defined, since it's been used for farming within the past five years.

  Local taxing bodies voted 7-1 Tuesday that a 184-acre site at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72 does not meet the requirements for the tax increment finance district the developer has requested from Hoffman Estates. If approved, the tax incentive could yield a $23 million refund to the developer. Patrick Kunzer/, 2016
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