13 tax districts determining if Silvis TIF gets longer life

Originally Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2009, 8:23 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 17, 2009, 8:43 pm
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By Nicole Lauer, nlauer@qconline.com
Officials in 13 taxing bodies have a short time to consider if they will support a request by Silvis officials to add 12 years to the life of a tax-increment financing district.

Silvis Mayor Bill Fox is working to help them make that decision, saying it's a win-win to extend the life of the TIF district that includes the city's downtown and the Twin Oaks area.

The 23-year-old commercial TIF is set to expire in December. Created to take increased property tax from development and use it to partially pay for infrastructure improvement or provide incentive rebates to developers, the district needs all 13 taxing bodies it affects to agree to a 12-year extension by Oct. 7 to allow letters of intent to be submitted to the Illinois General Assembly for approval during its Oct. 14 veto session.

Affected taxing districts other than the city include East Moline and Silvis grade schools, United Township High School, Black Hawk College, Silvis and Hampton Road and Bridge Districts, Rock Island County, Hampton Township, Hampton Cemetery, Illini Ambulance, the Metropolitan Airport Authority and Metro Transit. They currently receive no funding from the TIF I district and no benefit from real estate taxes generated by it.

The extension, however, is expected to generate $25 million in tax revenues, said Silvis TIF attorney Tom Jacobs. Of that figure, $10 million -- 40 percent, based on what they would have received if the TIF was not in place -- would be distributed among the 13 taxing districts with the remaining $15 million available for Silvis to use for development.

The original TIF district helped bring HyVee, Blockbuster, AutoZone, Sluggers Pizza and other businesses to Silvis, Mayor Fox said. Three to four business also have expanded or added jobs, he said.

Extending the district's life would let Silvis offer incentives to three large entities, which Mayor Fox described as manufacturing and retail, interested in moving to the city. He said it also will provide money for the city to replace its fire station, roughly 100 years old, and buy a new fire truck.

The Rock Island County Board has already backed the agreement. Black Hawk College interim president Gene Gardner said its board typically supports such requests. Metropolitan Airport Authority attorney Roger Strandlund said his board may review the request at a special session because their next scheduled meeting on Oct. 22 is past the approval deadline.

Silvis superintendent Ray Bergles said his main concern is giving up local property tax dollars -- which he called the absolute most guaranteed dollars -- in return for additional state funding due to the TIF district. He also worries a new Silvis fire station could mean the current one, closer to the school, would someday close.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "We want to do what's best for the community all the while making sure that you're being fair to your own school district, taxpayers and the kids.

East Moline grade school superintendent Barry Green said his board will consider the request Tuesday.

"What we want to do is weigh the pluses and the effects that it would have on our budget, particularly during these difficult times when the state is short of money,"he said. "We don't want to put a higher burden on property taxes."

Hamilton Township Supervisor Debra Jackson said representatives of the township, cemetery board and highway office want to weigh in on the decision.

"We like to be good neighbors," she said. "We'll just have to listen to what they have to see."

Illini Hospital District Ambulance Service and Metro Transit did not respond to requests for comments.

Mr. Jacobs said the extension is in the best interest of all of the taxing bodies. The extension could eventually add $9 million in developments to Silvis, he said, which translates into $3 million more of equalized assessed value.

"I think they all would want to have the potential for additional growth of new businesses, new housing," he said. "In this particular (TIF)district it's all commercial. The county would get more sales tax. And you get more jobs and, right now, I think all the taxing bodies are interested in creating jobs."

If the extension request fails, Mr. Jacobs said the district could later be recreated. But that new district would take five to 15 years to generate funding, he said.


Local events heading

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