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Village enters into agreement with Bloomington firm to establish TIF district

Thursday, April 27, 2017

At the April 17 meeting, the Village of Forsyth Board of Trustees voted to enter into a professional services agreement with TIF Illinois, a consulting group based in Bloomington, to establish and administer a tax increment financing district in the Village.

The Village’s goal in establishing a TIF district, its first ever, is to spur residential development in the Prairie Winds area, commercial development along the Route 51 corridor and other parts of the Village included in the proposed TIF study area.

Steve Kline of TIF Illinois spoke to trustees at the meeting. The base fee the Village will pay to TIF Illinois is $30,000, which is a flat fee to be paid in three installments of $10,000 each. The agreement will provide the Village with support from the staff at TIF Illinois, including their legal staff for helping with negotiations with developers.

Referring to Prairie Winds, Kline said there has not been a rush to subdivide those lots.

“There’s a reason for that,” he said. “Because extending sewers, streets, and water is expensive. It’s a challenge in a rural area like this. We’ve got to get that lot cost down where it’s competitive.

“Our job is to minimize risk for the Village.”

The next step in establishing the TIF district will take place immediately when TIF Illinois, in collaboration with Village staff, performs a feasibility study on the proposed TIF area. The study will determine which parcels are eligible to be included in the TIF district based on criteria set forth in the Illinois Municipal Code. The lifetime of a TIF district is 23 years maximum.

“TIF is not an entitlement program,” Kline said. “Simply being located within the TIF district doesn’t automatically make (a parcel) part of the TIF.”

Deciding what is part of the TIF district will fall to the Board, Kline said.

“Establishing this TIF district is an investment in the economic future of Forsyth,” Village Administrator David Strohl told trustees. “Hope is not an effective strategy for economic development, but it’s what we’ve been relying on for too many years.

“Using a mechanism like TIF is what we need to ensure Forsyth remains competitive and an attractive place for businesses and residents to locate for decades to come.”

Several commercial real estate developers interested in the proposed TIF district were in attendance at the meeting. After the completion of necessary, preliminary statutory and administrative procedures, the TIF district could be established as early as August.

“We’ve got to move forward,” Strohl told trustees. “I strongly encourage we pursue this.”

The motion to approve was made by Trustee David Wendt and seconded by Trustee Jim Peck. There was one dissenting vote by Trustee Steve Hubbard, who was finishing up his term as a member of the Board. Ordinance No. 2017-6 carried.

For more information, contact Village Hall at 877-9445.

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