New life for an old Libertyville program

 
 
Published10/29/2009 12:00 AM

Visitors to downtown Libertyville may enjoy the streetscape and the new parking garage, but likely have no idea how those improvements came to be.

Or how long it took. The mechanism that resulted in a $26 million investment in the downtown area is a bureaucratic mouthful that has successfully unfolded over the last 23 years.

 

And it's not done yet.

State tax increment financing districts end after 23 years. Designated in 1986, Libertyville's was set to expire at the end of 2009.

Knowing its work wasn't done, the village met with the nine taxing jurisdictions affected by the TIF district and gained support to extend it for another 12 years.

The state legislature approved the request last year, then overrode then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto. On Tuesday, the village board held a public hearing on the matter, the last step before a village board vote Nov. 10 to finally make it official.

No one spoke at the hearing or asked questions. But village leaders are well aware what it means: about $13 million more over the coming years to buy land and build a parking deck on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue as a complement to the new one that opened in early September on the west side.

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About $2 million in TIF money also will be used to complete extensive surface parking improvements associated with the deck on the west side.

But there is an important difference between the original designation and the extension that will mean a substantial payday for some of taxing districts.

Property values in a TIF district are frozen. Taxing bodies within the district receive the same amount of property taxes even though the area increases in value because of new streets or sidewalks, for example.

The new value is assessed for taxing purposes but any resulting increase is funneled into a special fund used to pay for improvements within the district.

In the original TIF, all the increase went into the fund. During the TIF extension, the village will take only what it needs to pay for the east side parking improvements and disperse the rest (about 70 percent of the total) each year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The estimate of the first rebate, to be divided proportionately, is nearly $1.6 million.

If that estimate holds, Libertyville Elementary District 70 would receive more than $590,000 and Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 would get more than $560,000.

"The infusion of these new dollars is definitely going to be appreciated," said Yasmine Dada, District 128's assistant superintendent for business.

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