Owners of homes within the proposed second tax increment financing district in downtown Yorkville would not be forced to sell their homes and would not have higher taxes because of the TIF, a city attorney assured a group of homeowners during a public meeting on the TIF Tuesday evening at City Hall.
The city is proposing a second TIF district that will include some of the properties included in the first TIF district established in the downtown area in 2006.
The city held its second meeting with residents whose properties would be within the proposed TIF district. The city held a previous meeting with residents on Sept. 26. According to the city’s timeline, aldermen will adopt an ordinance on Nov. 14 setting the date and time of a formal public hearing on the TIF; representatives of the affected taxing districts will meet during a Joint Review Board advisory session on Dec. 12; a formal public hearing will be held on Jan. 9 on establishing the TIF; on Jan. 23 the City Council will vote on removing certain properties from the current TIF and adding them to the second TIF; and the City Council is expected to vote on formally adopting the new TIF on Feb. 13.
City Attorney Kathleen Field Orr, who has been involved with the establishment of TIF districts for many years, outlined what a TIF district is and what effect, if any, it would have on their property.
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 can then use the funds or increment to pay for capital improvements within the TIF district. Developers can use the fund to be reimbursed for certain improvements as well, as long as their property is within the TIF district and they agree to certain conditions with the city, according to Orr.
TIF districts were established in Illinois by the General Assembly in 1977, when lawmakers created the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, known as the TIF Act. According to a variety of sources, there are approximately 1,220 TIF districts in 455 municipalities in Illinois.
One of the residents attending the meeting asked Orr why residential properties were included in the TIF district boundary. Orr explained that downtown is a mixed-use area, which includes commercial and industrial properties, along with homes. However, it does not mean that homes will be taken via eminent domain or taxes will increase because of the TIF, she said.
“Being in a TIF does not increase your taxes, and no one will be taking your home,” she said. “If somebody comes in and is developing a lot and wants to buy your home, and you choose to sell it, that’s fine.”
Another resident asked if the improvements being planned by his townhome association could be reimbursed using TIF funds. Orr said the property owner should come to the city first to work out a TIF agreement. She said tax increment that comes from the common areas surrounding the townhomes could be used for such improvements.