One reason your property taxes are high

By: Diane Benjamin

The second installment of your property taxes are due on 9/17. The check you will be writing is higher because of many things, but a BIG one is Tax Increment Financing. TIF’s

The Uptown TIF is Normal’s huge one. The 2020 comprehensive report isn’t available yet, so I have to use the 2019 report filed with the Illinois Comptroller.

Keep reading, explaining this isn’t easy!

The value of the Uptown properties before redevelopment was $14,669,476. As of 3/31/2019 the value was $41,774,299. Impressive until you find out Normal bonded somewhere close to $100,000,000 to achieve the increase. Paying that back could easily cost 50% more. The increment in 2019 was the difference, $41,774,299 – $14,669,476 = $27,104,823.

How are your property taxes affected?

In theory your property taxes should be going down because of the increase in property values in Uptown. Those shiny new buildings not owned by the Town of Normal should be contributing to the tax base. They aren’t because all that increase goes to the Uptown TIF for decades (23 years) to hopefully pay off the debt. (Hint: It won’t pay it off)

Worse, to recreate Uptown, Normal bought lots of properties and torn them down to build new. That took many properties off the property tax rolls because government owned is exempt. YOU have to pay more to make up the difference because fewer properties are contributing. Normal also built buildings like the Children’s Discovery Museum and parking garages which don’t pay any property taxes. The properties that were there did!

BNWRD (Bloomington Normal Water Reclamation District) sends me their packet every month. This was included for the September 14th meeting where they will set the tax rate for next year:

BNWRD needs “X” property tax dollars. To calculate the rate to get “X” they start with the EAV and subtract the TIF increment. They subtracted over $44 million – more than $27 million is just Uptown. Bloomington: The BNWRD rates you, so Uptown costs you money too.

If the value of other properties don’t increase every year, BNWRD has to increase the rate to compensate for the properties Normal removed from the tax rolls. BNWRD won’t share in the increased property values until the TIF ends. Normal has extended part of the TIF past the original 23 years.

Now look at your tax bill. There is a long list of taxing bodies. EVERY one of them had to increase rates to compensate for the properties in the Uptown TIF that are no longer giving them tax dollars.

None of those taxing bodies will share in increased property tax receipts until at least 2026 when part of the TIF ends. The debt won’t be paid by then, ask Mayor Koos who is going to pay the bonds and interest when TIF money ends?

Let’s see if property taxes go down when part of this one TIF ends. When all the increased value property taxes are distributed to other taxing bodies like Unit 5 and BNWRD the rate should go down.

Don’t hold your breath.

If this lost you, please ask questions!

8 thoughts on “One reason your property taxes are high

  1. Another reason taxes are high is because some of Normal’s “professional staff” , manager, mayor and council members handout sweetheart deals to their friends and love their pet projects. Their money tree, us, hav had enough we need to vote these spenders out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We just moved out of the land of horrific taxes. Our tax bill in our new home state will be less than $700 a year for a house sitting on one acre of land. This statement alone answers the question people have been asking us of why did we,move out of Illinois. By the way, our Illinois tax bill was over 5 thousand a year for a home and postage stamp yard!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for a very detailed account of TIF districts that are so widely misunderstood, particularly in the town of Normal where Normal tax payers have been sold a bill of goods.

    Another reason our property taxes are so high is in the previous post about Bloomington’s city manager getting a huge raise. Once he’s vested in the pension system upon retirement he’ll be earning a retirement pension that most of the tax payers in his town don’t even come close to earning, yet we’re asked to fund it any way.

    Last I looked former Normal City manager Mark Peterson who retired at age 58 is earning $120,000 a year in retirement. In addition he’s also moved on to some other job with government. The amount he paid into the system comes no where close to what he’s earning. These are benefit packages that simply don’t exist in the private sector and tax payers are on the hook to fund it. With state legislators also vested in the system (are you hearing me Bill and Dan Brady) I don’t have much hope in pension reform. Tax relief is no where in sight in the state of Illinois and most certainly not in the town of Normal.

    Liked by 2 people

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