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Woodstock City Council to vote on controversial TIF district

Meeting will take place Tuesday

Woodstock Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson discusses a proposed tax increment financing district Aug. 13 near the Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock.
Woodstock Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson discusses a proposed tax increment financing district Aug. 13 near the Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock.

The Woodstock City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss and vote on the controversial tax increment financing district.

The downtown TIF No. 2 has been in the works for months. The existing downtown TIF district is set to expire in 2020, and the proposed district would encompass about 60 percent of the existing TIF along with about 500 additional acres of property.

Municipalities can establish TIF districts in blighted or underdeveloped areas to attract new economic development using financial incentives generated by the district. When a city establishes a TIF district, the property tax base in that area is frozen for a specified time, typically
23 years.

Property taxes collected on any added property value then are funneled into an account set aside for redevelopment projects in the area.

The McHenry County College and Woodstock School District 200 boards have been critical of the effort and raised concerns about a potential influx of students as a result of the incentive program.

Council members already have tentatively agreed to give TIF funds to developers of six projects, including some housing proposals.

The proposed TIF covers parts of the downtown area and Route 47. Woodstock is looking to keep the city-owned Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House complex in the district, along with sites for potential housing, including the long-vacant Richard’s Building Supply Co. property on Judd Street and the incomplete Woodstock Station subdivision.

If approved, the City Council would set the base equalized assessed valuation at $26 million, which represents the 2017 value of the 536 parcels in the proposed area. The figure is 5.7 percent of Woodstock’s total EAV, according to city documents.

City Council members have been largely supportive of the TIF district. At its Dec. 18 meeting, the council agreed to remove properties from the existing TIF that represented more than 50 percent of the existing land area “in preparation for establishment of the new TIF,” according to city documents.

Council members will meet at
7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 121 W. Calhoun St.

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