Libertyville shares the property tax wealth from special district
As it has the past several years, Libertyville is sharing the wealth of its successful downtown with several other government agencies.
This year, nearly $2.8 million will be spread among 10 taxing bodies included in the village's tax increment financing district, which essentially is designated as the downtown area. Nearly $4 million was collected.
Libertyville isn't necessarily being generous. The village is required to share by agreements and state legislation approved in 2009 that allowed the TIF district to live on beyond its normal 23-year span.
So, instead of keeping all the property tax collected as a result of added value in the area, the village agreed each year to rebate 70 percent until the TIF district expires Dec. 31, 2021.
In a TIF district, taxes collected on higher property values as improvements are made don't go to taxing bodies, such as school districts and libraries, but are kept in a special fund for projects and expenses in the designated area.
That had been the case in Libertyville until the extension was negotiated and an annual rebate amount set. Estimated rebates range from about $15,000 to the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency to more than $1 million to Libertyville Elementary District 70.
Most of the agencies -- including the village -- use the rebate for general operations. Cook Memorial Public Library District, for example, puts its $105,298 estimated rebate in the general fund and used it to pay for expenditures that otherwise might not have been made, according to library Director David Archer.
Through the rebate, the library increased a part-time children's librarian position to full time, bought a new file server to maintain the performance of its network, and added a part-time technology aide position to assist patrons at peak times and on weekends. The balance was spent on materials, with a notable increase in eLibrary materials such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines, Archer said.
Libertyville District 70 perennially gets the highest rebate.
"Those funds are used to make the bond payment that was taken out to pay to air-condition the school buildings," said Kurt Valentin, assistant superintendent of finance and operations.
Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 gets the second-highest rebate, an estimated $923,555. The funds are used to fund normal operating expenses, according to school officials.
The expiration of the TIF district will provide the taxing bodies with their full measure.
"When the TIF expires it will be more advantageous for us," Archer said. "At that point, we'll be getting the full amount."