Plans for Flossmoor’s proposed downtown Tax Increment Financing District are moving forward.
The Flossmoor Village Board voted 5-0 Monday, Dec. 5, to approve an ordinance authorizing the establishment of TIF “interested parties” registries and adopt rules for the registries, as well as an ordinance to set a date for a public hearing on the proposed Downtown Redevelopment Plan and Project. Trustee George Lofton was absent.
Village Attorney Kathleen Field Orr gave a brief presentation about the process, including an explanation of TIF districts and how the village intends to utilize one.
“Tax increment is an economic development tool that, as of the date it’s established, the properties that are included in the boundaries of what we call the project area have an Equalized Assessed Valuation,” Orr explained. “We look at the EAV as of the date the TIF is finalized. Over a period of time, if someone builds an addition to their property, a garage to their property, develops the vacant property, or because of public improvements to the infrastructure, the EAV — the value of the property — increases. How tax increment works is to the extent the value of the property is increased, the taxes derived from that increased value … are put into a special fund, and that fund can only be utilized for reinvestment in the project area for specific capital items.”
The purpose of the downtown TIF district is to attract a prospective developer while assisting existing ones, per board conversation in November 2021. The village board then authorized a study of the proposed redevelopment project area.
Village Manager Bridget Wachtel at the time said incentives are needed to support a prospective developer who has interest in Village-owned, mixed use property on Flossmoor Road. A TIF was determined to be the “most substantial” method to do that, she reported. Several trustees at the time voiced their support for the idea.
The proposed TIF would include properties on both the north and south sides of Flossmoor Road from Sterling Avenue to Leavitt Avenue, as well as properties on the north side of Flossmoor Road from Leavitt to just west of Douglas Avenue. It also includes properties on the east and west sides of Sterling Avenue from Flossmoor Road to near the teardrop island, excluding the Flossmoor Public Library.
In total, it is described in public notice as including 19 buildings and seven vacant lots, over a total of 9.80 acres. Excluding roadways, the redevelopment project area includes 5.5 acres, according to the notice.
Wachtel in November noted the viaduct on Flossmoor Road contributes to “chronic flooding” and the project area contributes to that flooding. Development of vacant property will need to accommodate additional stormwater detention, she reported. That makes it eligible under TIF as a blighted area — or in the case of the Civic Center, a conservation area.
In a memo to the board, Orr noted that to officially establish the project area, the village must first hold a meeting with the taxing districts that have jurisdiction over the area as well as a public hearing before the Village Board. Flossmoor has scheduled a meeting of the Joint Review Board for Dec. 21. A public hearing is slated for Feb. 6, 2023, with the adoption of TIF ordinances on the docket for Feb. 20.
The TIF would be only the second such district in the village’s history; the first was to the northeast of the intersection of Vollmer Road and Crawford Avenue and already is closed. That one was related to the development of Meijer, and Orr called it a “huge success.” But she noted Flossmoor remains “very, very careful” regarding its use of TIF.
“We’ve refrained,” she said. “We believe the taxing district will support us in this, knowing we have been very, very careful in utilizing it only when we truly believe it will be of assistance.”
TIFs have a predetermined timeline, and Orr said the term of the proposed downtown TIF is 23 years.
“That doesn’t mean it’ll go 23 years,” she said. “If we do all the development quickly, we could cancel it out and complete it. Most TIF districts … go at least 20 years, because it takes that long to get that momentum and the increase in taxes.”