By: Diane Benjamin
Town Council meeting TUESDAY http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3172 (delayed for MLK Day)
Misc spending: CDM is Children Discovery Museum. It’s easy to give your money as a memorial!
(yes it’s complicated)
The Town of Normal owns the building at 104 W. North. It is currently rented to Dan Brady and Rodney Davis for use as a district office. On the agenda is renewing the lease to each for $1 for the two-year term.
The meeting documentation claims the Town bought the property in 2003. See PDF page 34. The County records show they bought it in 2006: PIN # 14-28-430-014 The Recorder’s office also shows Normal bought it in 2006. They paid $800,000 for 4 PIN numbers, 2 that no longer exist. the other is 14-28-430-015 – 102 W North. The two that no longer exist were associated with Commerce Bank subdivision.
For tax purposes it is assessed at $86,549. Multiply by 3 and the value is $259,647.
The property is taxable only because the Town is renting it to Brady and Davis. It was previously rented to other elected officials with the same deal. Strangely 102 West North is also being rented but has never been taxed. From a FOIA I received in 2017, it was rented to: Ohmfit Activewear.
According to the County website, since 2013 the Town has paid $36,294.60 in property taxes on 104 West North. Keep in mind they earn $2 every 2 years in rent. Prior to 2013 it evidently wasn’t rented because no property taxes were paid.
Here’s where it goes off the rails:
Taxes paid in 2018 (for 2017) were $7,488.94. Of that amount $5,215.76 went to the Uptown TIF.
What that means is:
- Normal is paying taxes on a building they bought to tear down
- Taxes are only paid because it is rented for $2 for a two-year lease
- The top floor is empty and generating no rental income
- $5,215.76 of the $7,488.94 ended up in the Uptown TIF fund for the Town to give away for other projects
- The Town is simply transferring your money to a different fund while claiming the TIF is producing income
This is not the only property the Town owns and rents in Uptown. The TIF reports filed do not reflect how much TIF income is merely a transfer of funds. 70% of the taxes paid in 2018 on the property went to the TIF. Since 2013 that likely means $25,496 ($36,294.60 x 70%) of the total TIF income reported for the Uptown TIF was generated by just this one property using your money.
The two questions I have are:
- How much total TIF income reported has merely been your money transferred to the TIF through property taxes the Town is paying?
- Why are no property taxes paid on 102 W North if it is also rented?
The FOIA from 2017 shows the Town was earning $180 a month from Ohmfit Activewear. I wonder if that money is going to the TIF or the General Fund.
So many questions, many hours of research needed. I may or may not do it.
One final scary number:
This is from the TIF report for Uptown Development filed by the Town of Normal with the Comptroller’s office for the year ended 3/31/18:
Before Normal spent $58,556,746, the Equalized Assessed Value of the properties was $14,669,476.
The value of the properties now is $39,160,098.
That is an increase of $24,490,622, less than half of what was spent.
Where did I get the $58,556,746 number? From PDF page 10. See the Total Public Investment line:
The Children’s Discovery Museum and a parking deck aren’t taxed and contribute nothing to the EAV, but this is what Normal calls a success..
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