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Litchfield ponders 12-year extension of TIF District 1 - Heartland Newsfeed

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LITCHFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — With four years remaining on the current tax increment fund (TIF) in District 1, the City of Litchfield presented their case to fellow taxing bodies as to why this district needs extended for an additional 12 years during an informational hearing which took place at the Litchfield Community Center on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

“TIF districts address private investment in areas where private investment is not occurring,” according to Mike Weber from St. Louis-based PGAV Planners during the presentation he and Adam Straud presented prior to a question and answer session.

The life span of a TIF district is 23 years and results in property tax hikes that are specifically used for uses such as development within a given district.

TIF District 1 was established in June 1988, which includes the downtown business district, the commercial corridor along Illinois Route 16 and the crossing along U.S. Historic Route 66, which is home of many businesses including Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Burger King among others. It is also home of the newest location of Litchfield National Bank.

Weber noted that $7.8 million in TIF funding generated an additional $57.8 million in private investments.

The current district has a contract expiration of Dec. 31, 2022, according to Steve Daugherty, Litchfield’s mayor. With four years remaining, Daugherty notes that it is not enough time to continue development along the Route 66 crossing. For example, Lot 61 in the west side development area was originally intended for an outlet mall, but was subdivided because those plans fell through. Extending the district until December 2034 will ensure infrastructural improvements are made.

The TIF district would generate roughly $1 million annually during the extension, but according to city administrator Tonya Flannery, the city doesn’t perceive such need, citing other taxing bodies present at the meeting that an anticipated 30 percent “surplus” would result in funds being returned to them over the life of the extension.

Such an extension would require approval from the Illinois General Assembly, but cannot be pressed further without full support from all taxing bodies.

Present taxing bodies at the meeting were the City of Litchfield, Litchfield CUSD #12, Litchfield Public Library District, Litchfield Park District, North Litchfield Township, Lincoln Land Community College District 526 and Litchfield Airport Authority.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

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