The Village of Oak Park is hosting a public meeting Wednesday to talk about its three tax increment financing districts, one of which is the subject of a multi-million dollar lawsuit now working its way through the courts.

The “Joint Review Board” is scheduled to convene annually, though that has not always been the case. The purpose is to bring together the governmental bodies which are a party to the TIFs for an update on the status of how the three TIFs were used in the previous year. Invitees include elementary school District 97, the park district, Cook County and the library. Also on the guest list is high school District 200, which sued the village earlier this year, seeking $3.3 million in tax money it alleges it is owed.

Officials from District 97, District 200 and the village have been meeting recently, behind closed doors, to try and reach a settlement in the lawsuit.

The village will review the 2009 financial reports for the Harlem/Garfield, Madison and Downtown TIFs. A TIF is a fund created by freezing property taxes in a specified geographic district at a certain level. Increases in future tax revenues above that amount are funneled into the TIF for use in development and infrastructure projects designed to increase economic development. 

Some of the major expenditures from Oak Park’s Downtown TIF last year included $1.5 million in distributions to other taxing bodies, $1.4 million in debt payments, $1.2 million to demolish a couple of buildings on Lake Street, a $350,000 payout to the developer that built the Whiteco building, and $148,000 to the law firm of Neal & Leroy.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. 


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