As our news editor, Tony Scott, reported this past week, the city of Yorkville is considering establishing a second tax increment financing (TIF) district in the city’s downtown and will host an informational session on the TIF at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Up for consideration is a city staff proposal to create a new TIF district and redevelopment area in the downtown, taking some properties out of the original TIF district approved in 2006 and adding them to the new TIF. In addition, the 23-year time limit on the original TIF would be extended. Under a TIF district, property taxes generated by new growth in the designated area are placed in a separate fund controlled by the city. The city then can use the funds or increment to pay for capital improvements within the TIF district.
A TIF eligibility report drafted in August by Jason Engberg, the city’s senior planner, noted that the original downtown TIF has failed to generate enough revenue in the city’s TIF district fund. Engberg correctly attributed this failure to the timing of the original TIF. Within two years of the TIF’s creation, the 2008 recession hit and property values downtown and elsewhere promptly sank, effectively preventing the city’s TIF fund to grow. Now with property values slowly on the rise in the downtown, city officials are looking to jump start a long-desired new wave of downtown development by creating the second TIF district.
We support this initiative to improve the city’s struggling business center, based in part on the city’s success with a prior TIF in the Fox Industrial Park. Sitting idly by and waiting and hoping for something positive to happen in the downtown is not a strategy for economic development. By proposing a second TIF district the city is rightly attempting to use a proven, effective economic development tool to improve what is arguably its most important asset: its historic downtown.
As with any TIF proposal, city taxpayers are likely to have many questions. We encourage them to bring their questions to the Oct. 24 meeting which will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.