Winfield rescinds plan to share revenue from special taxing district

  • Winfield's village hall and police station building is within an existing tax increment financing district set to expire in 2028. The village is creating a new TIF district that would include the property.

      Winfield's village hall and police station building is within an existing tax increment financing district set to expire in 2028. The village is creating a new TIF district that would include the property. Scott C. Morgan | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/3/2021 9:42 PM

Winfield is not going to share revenue from a special taxing district after a local school district walked away from the offer and filed a lawsuit against the village.

Village trustees on Nov. 18 voted to establish a second tax increment financing district in Winfield's downtown.

 

In a tax increment financing district, property taxes paid to local governments are frozen for up to 23 years. Any extra property tax money collected within the area after the district is established goes into a special fund to help pay for improvements.

An existing TIF district in downtown Winfield will expire in 2028. Proponents say the new TIF district is needed to spur continued downtown development. It also would generate money for a new village hall and police station.

The village had planned to share some of the revenue from the district as part of an intergovernmental agreement with other taxing bodies, including Winfield Elementary District 34 and West Chicago Community High School District 94. Both school districts expressed strong opposition to the new TIF district.

But after five meetings, negotiations between Winfield and District 34 broke down. Then on Nov. 19, the school district filed a lawsuit against the village challenging its creation of the new TIF district.

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On Thursday, Winfield trustees rescinded a Nov. 18 resolution to draft the revenue-sharing agreement.

Without an agreement with District 34, Village Attorney Kathie Elliott said the village cannot enter into a deal with the other taxing bodies.

"Under the TIF statute, if the municipality decides to share extra revenues with the other taxing districts, the TIF act requires that it be distributed to all of the taxing bodies within our area," Elliott said. "We can't just help, for example, the park district and the fire district."

Village President Carl Sorgatz said District 34 has not been in contact with the board since filing the lawsuit. He said the lawsuit would likely mean the village would lose out on lower interest rates to help finance the town center redevelopment, including the relocation of the village hall and police station.

But District 34 Superintendent Matt Rich said the lawsuit is necessary to protect the school district from losing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue. Several properties are within the existing TIF district that is set to expire in 2028. District 34 doesn't want those properties in the new TIF district.

"With those properties off the rolls, the taxpayers around pick up a greater burden of taxes that need to come to the school district," Rich said.

Rich said a new village hall and police station should be funded via the previous TIF district. He also said village officials should seek voter approval for the project.

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