Lincolnwood looks to add new TIF district
New proposed tax increment financing district in Lincolnwood
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:11AM
Back in 2007, the Village of Lincolnwood’s Economic Development Commission began to talk about adding a fourth Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) with the goal of improving the Village’s business districts, but discussions never materialized until late last year.
Now the Village Board is moving forward with plans to add another TIF District, known as the Devon-Lincoln TIF District, with a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 19 where the community will have a chance to share their opinions on the matter before the Board of Trustees.
In simple terms, a TIF District is a public financing method used for subsidizing redevelopment, infrastructure and other projects designed to improve the community in one way or another. A TIF uses future property tax gains from a specific area to subsidize improvements.
If, for example, there was a vacant property and a developer came in and built a new building in that space, property values would increase and be put into a fund to help pay for improvements in the area, explained Timothy Clarke, community development director for the Village of Lincolnwood.
“The notion is that property values have been falling in the area, and the village is hoping to take action to turn it around and increase those values,” Clarke said. “There is, however, no certainty with TIFs and many are failures.”
Property owners located within TIF districts do not pay higher taxes than taxpayers outside the TIF.
The proposed Devon-Lincoln TIF District is a triangular area formed by Devon, Lincoln and Proesel Avenues, and stretches straight east along Devon, affecting only the properties bordering Devon from Lincoln east to McCormick Boulevard.
Lincolnwood currently has three TIF Districts, which encompass 55 percent of all commercial areas in the Village. The remaining 45 percent are not part of a TIF.
But if the new TIF District is approved, only 30 percent of those remaining commercial areas would remain outside the TIF, Clarke said.
The Village could use some of the cash to redevelop the area, which would add a new streetscape and a number of development initiatives to “change the character of Lincoln Avenue,” Clarke said.
In conjunction with a public hearing, or series of public hearings scheduled in regard to the formation of a new TIF District, Illinois state law requires the formation of a Joint Review Board made up of representatives from local tax districts.
Lincolnwood’s eight-member review board, which is charged with reviewing the proposed plan and making a recommendation on the proposal to establish the TIF District, rejected the plan at a Feb. 6 meeting.
But that recommendation doesn’t hold a lot of weight in the scheme of the matter. Under law, the village will now have a 30-day period to attempt to resolve any issues with the review board before they give their final vote.
“The village would be hopeful that the JRB would modify their view and support the TIF, but even if they don’t change their minds, the (village) board can go ahead and approve the TIF with a supermajority vote,” Clarke said. “The requirement of the supermajority is the only lawful effect of the (Joint Review) Board.”
At the Feb. 5 village board meeting, village manager Tim Wiberg talked about concerns raised by representatives of School Districts 219 and 74 during meetings with village staff held in January to address the proposed TIF District.
Some concerns were based on a perception that too many commercial properties would be covered in TIF Districts, Wiberg said, and that both districts suggested extinguishing one of the three existing TIFs and/or shrinking the proposed TIF.
An attorney for District 74 said at a Jan. 31 meeting that the district declined to support the TIF but would support further discussions to determine if the village would consider an agreement to either reduce the size of the proposed district or some other revenue sharing plan, according to public village board documents.
The public hearing will take place on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, 6900 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincolnwood.