By: Diane Benjamin
I reported on the Uptown TIF on 10/15/2021: https://blnnews.com/2021/10/15/uptown-tif-isnt-a-success/
Normal has 4 other Tax Increment Financing Districts. The theory of TIF’s is the increased value of redevelopment will repay the money borrowed or spent. The Town likes to declare success based on the private money invested in redevelopment. That amount is immaterial if taxpayers are stuck with the bills when the TIF doesn’t generate enough money. They are redistributing your wealth to the chosen developer so the Town can brag about development.
This TIF was started in 2008. As of 3/31/2021 it earned a total of $4,728,582, $850,155 for the year. PDF page 10 shows the projects undertaken: The Flats 1, 2, and 3, a parking lot, and a fire station.
The Town took out bonds totaling $20,000,000. PDF page 3 shows expenditures for the year were $16,929 higher than income, that means taxpayers paid the bills. The TIF expires in 2031. Any debt left will be paid by taxpayers after that date.
North Normal Warehouse Redevelopment:
This TIF was started in 2013. As of 3/31/2021 it earned a total of $2,827, $1,030 for the year. The previous developer went bankrupt, the area now has a new developer. PDF page 8 shows the TIF underwater by $9,454,311. Expenses of $616 were paid by taxpayers this year because income didn’t cover the costs. Next year might look better.
One Normal Plaza
This TIF was started in 2009. As of 3/31/2021 it earned a total of $219,932, $39,897 for the year. $102 was paid by taxpayers to cover expenses. The Town is using the money earned to reimburse demolition costs. PDF page 8 shows the TIF underwater by $3,637,069. 305 Pine Street (Terri Ryburn) is included in the TIF. The money paid to Ryburn to buy and repair the property are not included as expenses to the TIF. It’s easy to include or exclude numbers that make the TIF appear better. Ryburn’s private investment is listed, not the taxpayers investment.
This TIF was started in 2008. As of 3/31/2021 it earned a total of $157,022, $74,078 for the year. $4 more income was reported than expenses! PDF page 8 shows the TIF underwater by $8,392,978. PDF page 10 shows the public and private investment in the hotel. The infrastructure costs on page 8 aren’t listed under public investments. Once again, it is easy to make reports say what the Town wants them to say.
If these reports were not posted to Illinois Comptroller’s website taxpayers would never see them. That is why I report on the TIF’s every year.
Since TIF Districts deprive other units of government from sharing the increased property tax revenues for 23 years, they are a bad idea. Even worse when income doesn’t cover expenses and the taxpayers get stuck with the bills for what government thinks is economic development.