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Geneva seeks study for new TIF district

GENEVA – Aldermen Monday voted unanimously to approve a resolution to direct staff seeking requests for proposals for consultant services to determine the eligibility of a new tax increment finance district.

A tax increment finance district is a development tool that freezes the assessed value of the designated area, then shifts property taxes generated from the improvements to specific public projects in the district such as infrastructure.

Under state law, TIF funds are set aside for specific projects paid off in 23 years.  

The area to be studied by consultants includes all commercial property on State Street from the River to the western edge of the existing East State TIF – School Street – and all commercial zoned property north of Route 38. These encompass two parcels north of Wall Street, and then south to city-owned property north of the railroad trestle.

Mayor Kevin Burns said the TIF study will allow the city and citizens to examine ways “to provide enhancements and additional development opportunities.”

A TIF study will take a minimum of six months, officials said.

According to the resolution, the maximum amount of debt expected to be issued for reimbursement from the TIF funds is $10 million.

Fifth Ward Alderman Craig Maladra questioned the inclusion of some residential properties in the area to be studied.

But Economic Development Director Ellen Divita said their inclusion is not just an issue of land use but of study area.

“Downtown does not exist in a vacuum,” Divita said. “So all studies include a little bit of the neighborhood around.”

City Administrator Mary McKittrick said if a district is created, it will have no impact on individual property taxes.

“It’s not a zoning change,” McKittrick said. “What it’s doing is containing that increment of tax growth for use within that geographical area.”

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