Uptown TIF isn’t a success

By: Diane Benjamin

The TIF reports for Normal have been posted on the Illinois Comptroller’s website. This is the report for the Uptown TIF:

The Tax Increment Financing district was started in 2003, that means the majority of it is expiring in 2026. A small part was extended because development hasn’t occurred yet.

The theory of creating TIF’s is:

  • redeveloped blighted areas
  • borrow money to subsidize developers
  • pay the money back with profits retained from rising property values and other taxes generated

Since the inception of the Uptown TIF only $20,187,037 has been generated in property taxes. It also generated another $65,600 in interest and private sources. The new Sales taxes, Food/Beverage Taxes, and Hotel/Motel Taxes must have been put into the Town of Normal General Fund instead of the TIF.

Why is that a problem? Why is all of the above a problem?

See PDF page 8L

The Town borrowed $80,600,000

To date the TIF has only generated $20,187,037. It expires in 2026 which means the Town doesn’t get to keep the increase in property taxes to pay the debt. Last year that amounted to $2,587,606.

Anybody want to guess who will be paying that debt?

Anybody want to guess how many more years they will extend payments by refinancing the debt?

None of the above includes the interest being paid on the debt.

The bottom of PDF page 8 shows the TIF is underwater by $35,939,136. Since the TIF hasn’t generated enough income to only be underwater by $36 million, payments are being made from the General Fund.

See PDF page 15 and following for a recap of the TIF activities. Of course Trail East is dead for now. It doesn’t mention the still empty first floor of One Uptown Circle.

Koos and company will point to the Private Investment to claim success. It is impressive, unfortunately when many times more is borrowed than can be paid back from the TIF bills go to taxpayers. Congrats. Your great grand kids might still be paying it off.

This is only 1 of the Town’s 5 TIF Districts. Stay tuned.








5 thoughts on “Uptown TIF isn’t a success

  1. This IS math that ONLY makes sense to people like Koos, Kathleen and Kimberly. So what’s the big deal about a $60 MILLION loss for “uptown” This is NO big surprise. Same kind of “thinking” went into taking elephants over the Alps.

  2. The problem with your story is the criteria you are using to measure success. Financial or taxpayer value is not the measure Normal uses. They measure by whether it meets Koos’ personal agenda for Uptown or if staff can benefit by adding it to their resume:

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