More than 10 residents voiced concerns and posed questions to Shorewood officials regarding the proposed TIF District for Jefferson Street and Route 59 at the Jan. 24 meeting.
The Shorewood Village Board of Trustees held a public hearing as part of the process to establish this economic development tool to spur activity.
“When we do that, it contributes significantly to the health of the community and potential redevelopment for underutilized properties,” said Mary Thompson, senior planner at Kane, McKenna and Associates. “You know where there are some vacancies, you know where there is difficulty getting in and out… you have a library that’s kind of buried. All of those kind of things are going to be addressed.”
The village last reviewed the matter during a joint review board meeting on Dec. 20, 2016, at which time officials said no residents had recently came forward with concerns. The taxing districts also passed a positive recommendation to the trustees.
The village has been looking to establish this economic development tool for roughly a year.
One attendee referenced Shorewood’s DuPage River Master Plan and questioned the village’s intention to acquire and demolish properties belonging to residents.
But that’s not the case, Mayor Rick Chapman said.
“I would understand that because we’ve shown and everybody’s shown the village master plan that was created… I would say over 10 years ago,” he said. “All it does it just shows certain areas of what it could be, not what they’re going to be.”
Shorewood officials established a TIP plan and it does not encompass comprehensive planning or any other type of municipal planning, but it does conform to these plans.
Thompson said the village is certifying that no homes will be acquired as they look to establish the TIF District.
Chapman said the village needs to hold another master plan meeting to rework it within the next couple months.
Village Attorney Dave Silverman refuted common concerns people sometimes raise off and on regarding the topic of tax increases and TIF Districts.
“The fact that there’s a TIF District there doesn’t affect the amount of your taxes, it just affects what happens after you pay them, what you do as a government the dollars go to after the taxes are paid,” he said. “The hope of having a TIF District is that the values of the entire area will rise, but just because there’s a TIF doesn’t mean taxes go up, don’t mean taxes go down. Some people think ‘well, I’m in a TIF District. I don’t have to pay taxes anymore.’ That’s not correct. You pay the same taxes.”
Thompson sought to add further clarification.
“If they go up, it’s not because of the TIF,” she said. “Your taxes are probably going up now, maybe some of your values are going down. So, what we’re trying to do is raise everyone’s values.”
One attendee questioned if Shorewood officials had already received word from developers regarding potential interest in bringing businesses to the village.
“Do you have any interested parties in development of the land and stuff where it’s empty and it could be developed probably for commercial use… before you put in the streets and sewers and all that stuff and end up tearing stuff back down?” the attendee asked.
Community Development Director Karen James tried to explain.
“Generally speaking in economic development conferences, seminars and any type conversations, generally many brokers and developers are interested, but they’re waiting to see what happens,” she said.
The village set its TIF budget at $79 million.
Thompson, noting that $79 million might sound like a high number to propose, said it allows Shorewood officials to avoid having to backtrack to raise the budget and reestablish the TIF District.
“The bottom line can’t change, but within the budget everything can be moved around,” she said. “If we don’t need $7 million for rehabilitation but we need more money for utility improvement, those monies can be moved within the budget.”
Chapman gave credit to residents for the way they brought their concerns forward.
“This was a nice discussion,” he said. “I really appreciate the way this was done.”
The village board is slated to vote on the proposed TIF District as early as Feb. 14.