The Virginia Street Tax Increment Financing District is a public expenditure that keeps on giving feed stock for stories.
First it was the absurd waste of money for four pillars to mark the edges of the district which provides the money for improvements and fixes for improvements that don’t work from the Crystal Lake Motel to the Pizza Hit on Route 14.
$64,000 in all.
The names of the members of the Crystal Lake City Council should have been chiseled on each of these monuments to needless spending.
Why do I care?
Because I and every other taxpayer outside the Virginia Street TIF District are paying for them.
That’s because when a municipality decides to put property in a TIF District, it is reserving for itself all of any increase in tax revenue resulting from increased assessed value.
Sounds harmless, doesn’t it?
But, what do the other tax districts do?
Unless restricted by the Property Tax Cap–as the McHenry County Conservation District is–tax districts usually ask for the maximum amount allowed under the Tax Cap and the County Clerk’s Office, following the law, raises out their tax rates until the amount allowed under the Tax Cap will be raised.
You will note an ad inviting people to a Woodstock meeting about Tax Increment Financing Districts by an expert from Chicago. I encourage your attendance, if you really care about one very real element that is causing your taxes to increase.
The second TIF District failure were the ornamental lights.
They were too heavy for the polls.
They had to be replaced. (See link to articles below.)
Now, we have the cross walk failure.
Last year in the ornamental crosswalks were repaired in December.
Did you notice the crosswalks where the concrete (I think) is cracked?
Last week, I noticed that the decorative crosswalks at Virginia Street and McHenry Avenue had been removed and replaced with asphalt.
Thursday night, I saw lights near the intersection of Dole Avenue and Virginia Street.
The men were removing the original TIF-financed crosswalk in preparation of installing an asphalt one.
Why does this happen?
It is my belief that city officials treat TIF money as “free money.”
I remember that the Crystal Lake City Council found they had the ability to spend a final million dollars before the Downtown TIF District expired.
They decided to spend it burying electric, telephone and cable lines under the sidewalks on East Crystal Lake Avenue.
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Other articles that may be of interest:
- 6-10-8 Free (TIF) Money
- 12-29-8 A Crystal Lake Shell Game?
- 11-4-11 Ribbon Cutting on Virginia Street TIF Project
- 11-7-11 Crystal Lake TIF Monuments Cost $16,000 Each – Cost Updated/Corrected Downward
- 11-17-11 A Way to Recoup the Costs of the Virginia Street TIF Monuments
- 4-22-13 Virginia Street TIF Trouble?
- 5-7-13 Virginia Street TIF Lights Disappearance Explained
- 11-1-13 Replacements for Failed Virginia Street TIF District’s “Decorative” Street Lights Being Replaced Next Week
- 2-10-15 A View of TIFs from McHenry County