City to OK Downtown TIF District

By Steve Lord / The Beacon-News

The Aurora City Council is set to approve a new tax increment financing district for a key downtown block.

To be known as TIF District 9, it is actually being carved out of a part of the city’s very first TIF district downtown.

The boundaries of TIF District 9 are Galena Boulevard on the north, Stolp Avenue on the west, Downer Place on the south and the west bank of the Fox River on the east. The district would take in a good chunk of Stolp Island, which forms the heart of downtown Aurora.

It includes the Paramount and the new Aurora Arts Center building. It also includes the Keystone Building, which the city approved a development agreement on with a Rockford redevelopment company recently, and the Silver Plate Building, where redevelopment has been contemplated for a while.

It is considered a micro-TIF, a small part of the city’s downtown TIF district. The downtown TIF is due to expire in two years, and rather than renew it for the entire downtown, city officials are choosing to develop smaller, micro-TIFs for specific projects.

That way a lot of downtown land is freed up for other taxing bodies to collect tax revenue.

In a TIF district, assessed value is frozen for the purposes of taxation at the time of the formation of the district. As redevelopment occurs and assessed value of the property increases, the difference between the frozen value and the increased value goes into a fund, known as the increment.

That money can be spent on redevelopment in the TIF area, particularly on public infrastructure that goes with the development.

Any new taxes derived from the redevelopment would not go to other taxing bodies within the TIF until it expires after 23 years.

Aurora has had success with TIF districts. TIF District 2, which recently expired on the northeast side, is considered one of the most successful TIF districts in the history of Illinois. It included the first phase of Chicago Premium Outlets, as well as all the industrial and commercial development south of there to Mitchell Road.

The City Council will vote on approval of the TIF at its March 26 meeting.

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