By Patrick Baron
BLOOMINGTON – The McLean County Board approved the expansion of Uptown Normal’s tax increment financing district in a 12-7 vote on Tuesday.
The TIF districts covers parcels between College Avenue, Mulberry Street, and Beaufort Street. Prior to the vote, some county residents and board members expressed concerns over the duration of the TIF district, which will run through 2038. Members argued TIF districts should apply to blighted areas of a town, suggesting Uptown doesn’t need a TIF district in order to see economic growth. Board Chairman John McIntyre said the TIF expansion will help incentivize businesses to come to Normal.
“There are reasons why they want to develop that area as well, to complete their overall town plan,” McIntyre explained. “The Town of Normal has done a tremendous job in developing the plans over the years, and this is just a part for them be able to continue to offer incentives.”
The county would receive payment of redevelopment project costs from property tax revenues at the end of the expansion.
Among those in attendance at the meeting were Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Normal City Manager Pam Reece. Following the meeting, Koos noted the 2007-2008 recession knocked the town off its development schedule. He explained the TIF expansion would help put the town back on track.
“The properties we’re talking about that would be extended, for all practical purposes, are three parcels that are completely undeveloped and are currently not on the tax rolls,” said Koos. “This action would put them back on the tax rolls and get redevelopment on the properties.”
Koos added the town has some work to do in clarifying how the TIF district will benefit economic development.
“We didn’t come in expecting unanimous support for it by any means, I think there was good discussion today,” Koos said. “We’re going to have to do our homework a little more because there were some no votes based on some misconceptions, some things that are not in what we’re asking, so we’ll have to work on that.”
Patrick Baron can be reached at email@example.com.