Madison TIF payments postponed till January

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Nov. 15 came and went without a surplus payment from the Madison TIF to Oak Park taxing bodies, including school districts 200 and 97.

The taxing bodies are due a proportional share of tax revenue this year generated from the TIF. The exact amount is still being determined by the village.

The Madison TIF, created in 1995, is an agreement between the village and D97 but financially impacts other Oak Park taxing bodies as well. The village and D97 are currently discussing a proposal to build a new D97 headquarters on village hall property. Both sides have set a mid-January decision date on whether to move forward with that plan.

The two taxing bodies will host a joint public meeting next month on the headquarters issue and the Madison TIF. The long-term and short-term implications of the TIF will also be part of the ongoing discussions through January.

It was the village's request to postpone TIF payments while also talking about the future of the Madison TIF, which is set to expire sometime prior to 2020.

John Phelan, president of the D200 Board of Education, said he supports the village and D97 talks surrounding the Madison TIF, since that involves an intergovernmental agreement between those two taxing bodies. As for delaying TIF payments to the high school, Phelan said there should be a discussion about the TIF and how that impacts all the taxing bodies.

David Boulanger, Oak Park Township supervisor, said he also supports the talks between D97 and the village. Delaying TIF payments to the township would not harm that taxing body, Boulanger added.

The Madison TIF is a complicated agreement because it's only between two taxing bodies, yet by law, the village can't send surplus payments to just one taxing body and not others.

When the TIF was created, two payment options were outlined. For the TIF's first 15 years, Oak Park taxing bodies received a 25 percent payment from taxes collected. By 2010, that percentage was to increase to a 100 percent share. The duration of the TIF was initially 23 years, meaning it would end in 2018.

But the TIF was extended in 2007 as part of a deal between the village and D97 concerning the village purchasing the school district's 970 Madison St. headquarters, a temporary deal involving D97 selling the headquarters to the village in what was called a "sale/leaseback" agreement. It was struck to give D97, which was struggling financially at the time, a much-needed boost to its budget.

Using Madison TIF funds, the village purchased the building for $2.4 million and leased it back to D97 for a dollar a year through 2011. The village planned to recoup that money by extending the life of the TIF by at least one year. That extension also impacted when the taxing bodies would get their 100 percent share. Meanwhile, D97 took back ownership of the headquarters in 2012.

Bob Spatz, president of the D97 school board, said the village is still figuring out whether this year's surplus payment will be 25 percent or 100 percent.

The decision likely will be made in January.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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