Maercker District 60 opposes TIF proposal
A shopping plaza at the northwest corner of Cass Avenue and 63rd Street in Westmont has several vacant storefronts and is included in a TIF District proposed by the village and opposed by the Maercker Elementary District 60 School Board. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:38AM
WESTMONT — The Maercker Elementary District 60 Board is opposing a South Westmont Business District Tax Increment Financing District being proposed by the village of Westmont.
School Board President Paul Watkiss said the TIF District would place an unfair property tax burden on residents of the school district who live outside the TIF area near 63rd Street and Cass Avenue.
Watkiss said the tax burden shift to District 60 residents outside the TIF would be $6,976,910 over the life of a 23-year TIF.
Westmont officials want to set up a TIF District there to revitalize the retail commercial areas in that corridor, according to information from the village’s website.
A public hearing on the proposed TIF District is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 4 for at Westmont Village Hall, 31 W. Quincy St. The public hearing will take place during the regular Village Board meeting.
“We’re opposed to this because it doesn’t meet the requirements for a TIF,” Watkiss said. “There are very specific requirements; the area has to be blighted, and we just don’t feel this meets the requirements.”
District 60 hired a consultant to review the TIF eligibility report prepared by a consultant used by Westmont. The District 60 consultant said there are differences in the definition used by the village’s consultant versus the actual statutory definition in the TIF Act that should have been used, Watkiss said.
“I’m chairman of the Joint Revue Board for this TIF and initially had a request denied at an earlier meeting to amend the agenda to permit Allen Krackower to make a presentation before the board and to include an item for public comment as required by the Open Meetings Act,” Watkiss said. “The village did finally change the agenda and allow for the presentation.”
TIF financing freezes property taxes paid to various governments at its existing level, and any increases go into a separate fund used to pay for improvements within the area.