Residents say Buffalo Grove should pass on proposed TIF

Now is not the time for a new subsidized redevelopment area within Buffalo Grove's Lake-Cook Road corridor, several residents, including a former village president, told the village board this week.

The comments came Monday as the village board held a public hearing on a proposed tax-increment financing district covering 472 acres bounded by Arlington Heights Road on the west, McHenry Road on the east, Lake-Cook Road on the south and Old Checker Road on the north. The area includes two shopping centers, Town Center and Chase Plaza.

The board is scheduled to begin discussions on whether to approve the proposal July 20.

Proponents say the TIF district is needed to revitalize an area that has lacked economic growth and features numerous vacant business spaces.

"(Village) staff believes that given the challenges facing the Lake-Cook Road area, future redevelopment of key sites such as Town Center and Chase Plaza would not occur without a TIF district," Deputy Village Manager Christopher Stilling said.

But several residents said homeowners would shoulder an additional tax burden from school districts, park districts and other taxing bodies if the TIF district were approved.

"The net effect of this TIF could likely be maximized tax levies to offset those tax dollars that taxing districts are not going to get," resident Craig Horwitz told board members.

In a TIF district, property taxes generated in that area for local governments would be frozen at their current amounts for 23 years. Any additional taxes generated by rising property values in that period would go into a special village account to pay for improvements within the district.

Horwitz said several parcels within the proposed TIF district, including Town Center, are healthy and do not belong in the district. He also noted that the proposed TIF district includes the village campus and the village-owned Buffalo Grove Golf Course.

"Let's finally be honest and realize that the golf course may well again be in play for redevelopment," he said.

However, Stilling and Trustee Lester Oppenheimer III said the village has not immediate plans to redevelop the golf course.

Resident Brian Costin called the village's estimate that the TIF district would produce $96 million in incremental revenue over 23 years "a reckless projection."

"They would have to collect $4.2 million dollars per year. That's more than 2½ times the property taxes that this area is paying now," he said.

Saying that TIF districts put government in charge of economic development, Costin added, "Government shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and losers in the economy. When they do, they usually pick wrong, and the taxpayers always lose."

Also questioning the proposed TIF district was Jeffrey Braiman, who served as village president from 2011-2015.

"I don't want the village to move away from TIFs altogether, but I think the time is not right" given the economic downturn, he said.

Former Buffalo Grove Village President Jeffrey Braiman was among the residents asking the village board Monday to hold off on approval of a proposed new tax increment financing district.
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