Aurora is supporting an effort to defeat legislation that many municipal officials across the state say will weaken districts from funding tax increases.
The city council passed a resolution late Tuesday supporting the districts’ use of tax increase funding, or TIF, and helping to oppose SB2298, proposed in the state Senate.
The resolution, which is basically symbolic, would go to the Municipal League of Illinois, which would use it as part of its lobbying against legislation to weaken the use of TIF districts.
Aldermen passed the resolution without comment, but a memo that accompanied the resolution, written by city staffers for Mayor Richard Irvin, highlighted the positive effect TIF districts have had on the city.
In TIF districts, the assessed value is frozen for tax collection purposes, and as the value of the property increases, the taxes created by the increase in the value of the property are paid into a special fund, called increment. This money is used for development-related expenses.
Staff said the use of TIF neighborhoods and RiverEdge redevelopment areas has allowed the city to undergo “significant changes over the past several years.”
Aurora is considered to have had the most successful TIF district in state history, TIF District Number Two, which is largely responsible for the construction of the Chicago Premium Outlets mall.
Properties in this TIF district rose in value by about 8,000%, according to city figures, and created not only the mall, but many industrial properties west of it.
The mall is consistently one of Aurora’s top 10 taxpayers.
The city has 14 active TIF districts in Aurora.
Aurora has shown that cities can be flexible with TIF districts. The city has created “micro-TIFs”, which are smaller neighborhoods linked specifically to a development.
The city has also shown through its agreement with the Indian Prairie School District that it is willing to reduce what is taxable in a TIF district and what is not, and that a TIF district has no to operate for 23 years, the maximum allowed by state law.