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Woodstock TIF No. 2 plan approved by Joint Review Board

District 200, McHenry County College vote against proposal

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager opens a City Council meeting to public comment Aug. 1, 2017.
Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager opens a City Council meeting to public comment Aug. 1, 2017.

Woodstock’s proposed downtown TIF No. 2 passed the Joint Review Board this week, with two representatives voting against it and the remaining five supporting it.

Representatives from Woodstock School District 200 and McHenry County College voted no. Monday’s vote sought only to establish whether the proposal met state guidelines, but both taxing bodies have voiced opposition to the city developing another tax increment financing district.

Representatives from the city, county, Woodstock Fire/Rescue District, Dorr Township and a community member on the board voted in favor of the plan. Affected taxing bodies form the Joint Review Board, which is tasked with making an advisory recommendation to the City Council whether to move forward with the TIF.

Proponents have said TIF districts spur development. When a TIF is enacted, the property tax base is frozen at its current level, typically for 23 years. As equalized assessed values increase, that extra money goes to a city-controlled account and officials can give the money to developers and business owners who want to complete projects in the district.

District 200 and MCC oppose the plan because officials are concerned new development will bring new students to educate without providing any extra funding. In a scathing resolution, MCC trustees opposed the plan last month.

“The college finds that TIF districts are generally a hidden tax hike in that they make available tax giveaways to business by taking money from schools, colleges and other taxing districts in a way that is not transparent,” according to the resolution. “As a result, just to balance the books to make up for the money lost, other taxing districts must raise tax rates or eliminate services, thereby hurting those not receiving subsidies from the city.”

MCC President Clint Gabbard said the college wants to “stand in solidarity” with District 200.

“We have a K-12 partner, which clearly sees this could be very damaging,” he said at a recent board meeting.

A public hearing on the matter still is required ahead of the city’s January decision.

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