With SD 227 Agreement, Village Looks to Extend Downtown TIF 12 Years

Billy Elton at Main Street Nights, Tracy Johnson, A.H. Wolf Photography, Downtown TIF
July 25, 2018 at Park Forest’s Main Street Nights. the band is a Billy Joel/Elton John tribute band, Billy Elton. Perfect evening with the moon in the background and the kids dancing to the music. (Photo: Tracy Johnson at A.H. Wolf Photography)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Village of Park Forest took action Monday to extend the Downtown TIF for 12 years beyond that TIF’s already-set November 10, 2020 expiration. The extension would go into effect following a tentative staff-level agreement between School District 227 and the Village of Park Forest wherein the Village would abate TIF surplus from the Legacy Square development to all taxing bodies which are impacted by the Downtown TIF.

What does that mean?

A TIF district freezes the property taxes to outside taxing bodies at the level that existed when the TIF was established. If a taxing body was receiving $50,000 in annual taxes when a TIF was established, that taxing body would continue to receive $50,000 in annual taxes throughout the life of the TIF.

The taxing body where the TIF was established, however, would receive every dollar over the $50,000 that would have been due to that particular taxing body. For the life of the TIF.

This increment must then be used to further development where the TIP was first defined.

The Downtown TIF was established in 1997. Since then, the increment, or tax monies collected but not paid to the other taxing bodies, have been used to further development in Downtown Park Forest. (And this is one of the rare times I have not written this as “DownTown Park Forest,” per the previous insistence of former Trustee Kenneth Kramer.)

According to the Village of Park Forest, “The Downtown TIF district expires on November 10, 2020. Village Officials can demonstrate that a lot has been accomplished in redeveloping Downtown Park Forest since the inception of the Downtown TIF. However, there still remains a lot to be done in revitalizing this business district.”

Over the past 18 months, according to the Village of Park Forest, letters of support have been secured from the Park Forest Library, School District 163, Prairie State College, Cook County, and the Cook County Mosquito Abatement District.

Per this agreement:

Extensive conversations and presentations have taken place with School District 227 in seeking their letter of support. As part of these deliberations, the School District has requested financial considerations in exchange for their letter of support.

What has tentatively been agreed upon in discussions at the staff level between the Village and the School District is an intergovernmental agreement wherein the Village agrees to abate TIF surplus funds back to all associated taxing bodies for the 68 properties that make up the Legacy Square residential subdivision. This would take place in each year of the 12-year extension.

The financial impact for School District 227 of the distribution is estimated at $71,845 per year for a cumulative total of approximately $862,142 over the full TIF extension.

These amounts are based on current dollars and do not include an increase in housing values going forward. Assuming modest increases over the life of the TIF extension, it is reasonable to expect that the benefit would total more than $1M in TIF surplus distribution going back to School District 227.

So, based on this one school district’s work, all associated taxing bodies of the Downtown TIF would see benefits.