Sugar Grove approves TIF district

By on January 20, 2012

District covers 305 acres, compared to 1,800-acre prior proposal
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s 23-year-long Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district is officially on the clock.

The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday voted 5-1 to approve Sugar Grove Industrial Redevelopment Project Area No.1, designate Sugar Grove Industrial Redevelopment Project Area No.1, and adopt tax increment financing for the redevelopment project.

The TIF district will cover 305 acres—considerably smaller than the 1,800-acre TIF district that was proposed by the village last summer and then canceled in early September. Until recently, the current TIF district was slated to cover 324 acres. However, a village document from Community Development Director Richard Young states that 19 acres of undeveloped land west of Airpark Drive and north of Route 30 in Big Rock Township were eliminated from the TIF district boundary.

“Hopefully someday 23 years from now, people will reflect back and think it was a good move by the Village Board to enact the TIF,” Village President Sean Michels said. “We are trying to bring in alternatives to help facilitate our budgets—a way to diversify our tax base—and this is one of those tools that does that.”

Michels said an industrial tax base is one way to reduce real estate taxes for residents.

“That’s the whole motivation of this TIF district,” he said.

A TIF district is an economic tool intended to stimulate economic development by taking the incremental tax the village receives for improving a projected area. Those dollars are then used to fund the development costs. Simply put, businesses within the boundaries of the TIF district are provided with added municipal support and infrastructure.

Board trustee Kevin Geary, the lone vote against the TIF district, said he isn’t necessarily against the TIF, but rather the process that led to the village’s adoption of the TIF district.

“I think that there was an opportunity to have more of a collaborative process, and all the other taxing bodies felt like they were kind of shunned and not really given an opportunity to contribute to the creation of the TIF. For that reason, I voted no,” Geary said. “I got my opinion out there (during the meeting), but I’ll work with whomever to make (the TIF) a success. I would rather see all the taxing bodies work together. (I want to) build bridges, not block roadways.”

At the TIF district public hearing on Jan. 3, Michels said the board will consider a revenue-sharing agreement with Sugar Grove taxing bodies.

Michels said anyone who staunchly opposes tax increment financing should consider the success of TIF districts in other municipalities, particularly Aurora and Batavia.

“As these TIFs are expiring because of foresight from Village Boards and city councils in years past, now those taxing bodies are reaping the benefit of having millions of dollars come in to their coffers on an annual basis. I think people lose sight of that,” he said.