Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2013, 11:33 pm
EM alderman voices concerns about TIFs
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By Anthony Watt, firstname.lastname@example.org
An East Moline alderman is asking the Illinois Attorney General's Office and state Comptroller's Office to investigate concerns he has about the city's tax-increment financing districts.
Ald. Dave Kelley, 5th Ward, notified the city he was sending a letter to both offices, listing his concerns. However, hesaid he's not yet contending any of them are actual violations.
"I don't think I'm qualified to say if it's a violation or not," Ald. Kelley said. "It's just my duty to report it."
His first concern was repayment of $550,000 in TIF funds from two city TIFs mistakenly used for expenditures not eligible under TIF rules. He said some of the money has been repaid, but contends the city has no plans to repay all of it.
He also said he's not aware of the city having a TIF joint-review board, which is required for a city with TIFs.
Mayor John Thodos said the city does have a joint-review board, and it met just a few weeks ago.
Ald. Kelley also questioned whether $8,201 spent for dock repair in the Riverfront TIF, and $116,487 spent for "Park Vista Senior Housing Management" in the North Hill TIF district are qualified TIF expenses.
Mayor Thodos said state officials are welcome to "come down here and take a look," at how the city is handling TIF funds, and if they find a problem, the city will correct it.
He said he believed the city is adequately addressing the issue of the $550,000.
In December, city finance director Megan Petersen, said the $550,000 came from theKennedy Drive and Great River Industrial Park TIF districts, and inappropriately was spent for business-development obligations that should have been funded with sales tax revenue.
The sales tax money that should have been used remained in the general fund and was used for operational expenses, she said.
The city has been using property sales revenue to reimburse the TIFs, with the Great River TIF completely reimbursed, while the Kennedy Drive TIF has received about $190,517 and still is owed $313,483, Ms. Petersen said.
The remainder will be paid with whatever general funds can be made available, she said, adding that there is no deadline for reimbursing the two districts.
"When funds come available, we will continue to replenish those accounts," Mayor Thodos said Thursday.
He also said he believes the dock repair and Park Vista payments were allowable expenses and he believed the Park Vista expense was spelled out in the development agreement that created the TIF district.
As for Ald. Kelley's claim that the city didn't respond to his concerns, Mayor Thodos said he believed the $550,000 was adequately addressed in city council meetings, and the city still was working on responses to the other concerns when Ald. Kelley wrote his letter.
A document from the city Thursday indicates that Ald. Kelley's initialquery was made Jan. 3.
It goes on to state that the city's TIF reports have been corrected and that all required 2012 TIF reports have been filed with the state to reflect the issues involving the $550,000, and that those changes have been submitted to the joint-review board.
The report said the joint-review board did not meet in 2011, though it did not specify why. TIF issues from 2011 were addressed in 2012.
Ald. Kelley said he wants to see the review board meeting schedule, minutes and other documents detailing their activities."Show me the list."