By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – A fourth local taxing body is giving its blessing to the Town of Normal’s desire to add another 12 years to the life of Uptown Normal’s tax increment financing district.
The Heartland Community College Board of Trustees voted 5-2 for extending the TIF until the year 2038 for some undeveloped portions of Uptown.
TIF’s are controversial because tax revenue is diverted from local taxing districts into financial incentives intended to encourage private investment.
State lawmakers have to approve the TIF extension, and they generally want affected taxing bodies on board.
Heartland student trustee Josh Crockett voted against the proposal because he said it’s too expensive for students to live Uptown. Trustee Mary Campbell also voted no even though the intergovernmental agreement calls for developed properties in the district to return to the tax rolls in eight years.
“I have concerns about how many times the school districts, the community colleges, and all the others are being asked to give up their right to taxes that they need in order to continue their programs,” Campbell said.
TIF backers say the Uptown district has so far generated about $143 million in private investment and taxable property values have soared 180 percent in that time.
Normal Township trustees and the Unit 5 school board are scheduled to vote on the TIF extension Thursday.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org