City Gets to Work Moving York/Vallette and Riverside Drive TIFs Forward
North York TIF could be approved as early as Aug. 20; revenue sharing plan with District 205 still hasn't been worked out.
City officials on Monday continued their efforts to double the number of tax increment financing districts in Elmhurst from three to six. For several months, of the three proposed new TIFs, the focus has been squarely on the North York Street TIF.
But on Monday, the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee turned its gaze back to the other two, taking the next steps toward establishing TIF districts at York and Vallette, and along Riverside Drive.
TIF districts freeze assessed property values for local taxing bodies for up to 23 years to encourage redevelopment in areas considered blighted. TIFs generate new revenue through new construction in the TIF district, or if the township assessor increases the assessed value of the properties in the TIF district. The difference between the frozen property value and any new assessment or growth goes into a TIF fund. The city then uses this money to pay for any public improvements or to help finance redevelopment projects in the district.
The committee filed draft plans for the new redevelopment areas in March, and on Monday, aldermen and TIF experts reviewed the plans, noted a few recent changes and discussed a loose time line.
York and Vallette
Estimated cost for the redevelopment of the proposed 14-acre York and Vallette redevelopment area is $27.5 million over the 23-year life of the TIF. The cost estimate is based on analysis of the tax rolls, input from city staff and projected development, said Charles Biondo, senior vice president of Kane McKenna, TIF consultants.
The law requires the city to give a best estimate on cost, but that does not mean it has to spend that much, he said. Investment in a TIF is a combination of public and private dollars, and any city expenditure will have to be approved by the full City Council.
"Just because it's here, doesn't mean it has to be spent," Biondo said.
The current equalized assessed value (based on 2011 figures) of all 45 parcels in the proposed redevelopment area is $7.8 million. The York and Vallette TIF is projected to be worth between $32 million and $45 million at the end of the 23 years.
"So we could see a ratio of 5 to 1," committee member Norm Leader said. "For every dollar spent, we'd get $4 or $5 back over the course of the TIF. So, it's a good investment."
Biondo said that calculation would be consistent with the existing TIFs in Elmhurst.
The former Good Earth Market recently was added to the York and Vallette TIF, and the Brown's Chicken and Dulles Cleaners buildings have been removed through demolition.
Committee member Dannee Polomsky said she wants to see how the numbers would change if Nucara Pharmacy and the other businesses located in the Nucara strip mall west of York and Vallette, otherwise known as Parcel 57, were taken out of the TIF area.
Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp also proposed a change envisioned after several conversations with Park District Executive Directory Jim Rogers. The Park District would like to see some park property along the Illinois Prairie Path included in the TIF, Kopp said.
"(The parcels) are really long and skinny," Kopp said.
"The Park District does have some structures there—Safety Town, the old Depot, their storage warehouse. There's the potential for capital improvements on those," therefore park officials would like to make them part of the TIF, he said.
It was the first time the committee had heard the Park District's request. Morley said it is an "interesting concept," and Biondo said he needs to study the idea to "see if this makes sense."
The projected cost for redevelopment of the 90-acre Riverside Drive property is $40 million over a 23-year period, Biondo said. Current EAV is $8.6 million, and TIF experts estimate the property will be worth between $50 million and $75 million at the end of the TIF.
Capital improvements in this area would largely involve utilities, such as storm system improvements, Biondo said.
"It has qualified as a vacant, blighted area due to chronic flooding," he said.
Salt Creek Primary School, which is part of School District 48 based in Villa Park, also could fall within the Riverside Drive TIF. Any capital improvements to Salt Creek would benefit students from Elmhurst, Villa Park and Oakbrook Terrace, the three towns served by District 48.
The rest of the plan mirrors the other two proposed TIFs in terms of qualifications and statutory requirements.
With work left to be done on the North York TIF, committee members agreed to keep the time table looser for the other two proposed TIFs.
"We are in the middle of our conversations with taxing bodies and getting to the end of our time line for TIF 4," committee Chairman Steve Morley said. "Because that portion of our job has not yet been completed, I don't see a need to rush these time lines. I look at these time lines as place markers; they're not written in stone."
In moving these TIFs forward, the city must hold a public hearing, notify taxpayers and the affected taxing bodies, hold a meeting of a Joint Review Board, which then makes recommendations to the committee. Following that, a public hearing will be held, and ordinances must be adopted by the City Council to designate the TIF.
"Once the City Council passes the public hearing resolution, everything else just flows from there," said attorney and TIF expert Brian Baugh.
North York TIF Still Not Quite Finished
The process has flowed for the North York TIF, as well.
"There's not a whole lot left on this time line," said Than Werner, planning and zoning administrator.
The North York TIF proposition passed the Joint Review Board last week by a vote of 6-1 and is headed toward an Aug. 6 public hearing. Two weeks after that, Aug. 20, is the soonest the TIF could get final approval from City Hall.
The city is simultaneously trying to work with Elmhurst Unit District 205 School Board toward a revenue-sharing agreement of some kind. Committee members initially hoped a plan would have been worked out by now.
"We're waiting for them," Morley said. "Our initial hope was this meeting, but we found out last week they were unable to attend. I'm committed personally, and I've said this to the School Board president and superintendent, to do this as quickly as possible when they are available."
But so far, only rough ideas have been tossed around, he said.
"We at least have given them something to consider—a structure—and they're supposed to get back to us," Morley said.