I claim no knowledge that the Crystal Lake City Council might be contemplating another Tax Increment Financing District east of the one altering the “streetscape” between the stone cemetery monuments at Pizza Hut and across the street from Kwik Kopy.
But look at how different Route 14 looks east of Pizza Hit, compared to in the Tax Increment Financing District where there are no above ground power lines and the street lights are now short and black.
Will the Crystal Lake City Council be able to stand the inconsistency?
Or will they conclude, “What the heck? TIF money is free. Let’s form another TIF District and make it look pretty, too?”
What Mayor Aaron Shepley and council members want Crystal Lakers to believe is that Tax Increment Financing money doesn’t cost them anything.
Wrong, as a Chicago Reader reporter has virtually made a career writing about.
When municipalities create these little tax monsters. the result is that all other overlapping tax districts will raise their tax rates in order to capture the lost increase in assessed value stolen to benefit projects in the TIF District.
In the case of the Virginia Street TIF District, we’re talking
- McHenry County
- McHenry County Conservation District
- McHenry County Tuberculosis District
- High School District 155
- Grade School District 47
- Algonquin Township
- Algonquin Township Road & Bridge District
- Crystal Lake Park District
- Crystal Lake Library
Have I missed any tax districts that cover the Virginia Street TIP District?
On, I forgot the rest of Crystal Lake.
Those who pay taxes to all of these tax districts will be the ones who pay for the new street lights, the new sidewalks, the fewer parking spaces, the new planters (complete with sprinklers).
City Council folks want people to believe that TIF improvements are free.
Well, most of us learned a long time ago that there is no free lunch. Or as the invitations come to us older folks for a free dinner, there is an investment pitch one must pay. At Wilderness Territory, we offered a $50 credit card, plus $100 off a restaurant meal if we would listen to a pitch for a condo or a time sharing deal, an offer quickly rejected.
The problem with TIFs is that there is no referendum. There isn’t even widespread understanding of how they raise taxes on people who have no idea that this sneaky tax hike affects them.
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A reader named Mark has left some insightful comments about TIF districts under this article entitled, “Waste”:
The Virginia Street Corridor TIF district is basically between Pizza Hut, 282 Virginia Street (Route 14) and Petco, 230 Virginia Street, in Crystal Lake.
It thus extends northwest from about Coventry (Pizza Hut), past Linn, McHenry, VanBuren, Washington, Pomeroy, King, Florence, Dole, Lakeshore Drive, to Carpenter (Petco).
VIRGINIA STREET CORRIDOR TAX INCREMENT FINANCING REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AND PROGRAM City of Crystal Lake, Illinois, February 2005
A 50 page document stating:
Total Estimated Project Costs: $9,291,000
2003 Equalized Assessed Valuations: $9,845,120
It is estimated that the incremental increase in property taxes over the term of the TIF District in 2003 dollars will be $12,085,875.
Upon the completion of anticipated redevelopment projects it is estimated that the equalized assessed valuation of real property within the Project Area will be in excess of $26,080,000.
This represents an approximate 165% increase in the total equalized assessed valuation.
The following taxing districts cover the proposed Project Area:
Algonquin Township, Algonquin Township Road and Bridge, City of Crystal Lake Fire, Crystal Lake Park District, City of Crystal Lake, College District #528, Crystal Lake Library, McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District, School District #47, and School District #155.
Mark also provides information on the Main Street TIF district:
CRYSTAL LAKE AVENUE AND MAIN STREET TAX INCREMENT FINANCING REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AND PROGRAM, August 2005
Total Estimated Project Costs $35,000,000
The total 2004 equalized assessed valuation of the Project Area is $3,284,169.
The following 14 taxing districts cover the proposed redevelopment project area:
Algonquin Township, Algonquin Township Road and Bridge, Nunda Township, Nunda Township Road and Bridge, Nunda Township Cemetery, City of Crystal Lake Fire District, Crystal Lake Library District, Crystal Lake Park District, College District #528, McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District, School District #47, School District #155, and City of Crystal Lake.
The principal source of funds will be the incremental increase in real property taxes attributable to the increase in the equalized assessed value of each taxable lot, block, tract or parcel of real property in the project area over the initial equalized assessed value of each such lot, block, tract or parcel.
Finally, Mark left this about the Vulcan Lakes TIF project:
VULCAN LAKES TAX INCREMENT FINANCING REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AND PROGRAM, August 2005
Total Estimated Project Costs $30,000,000
The total 2004 equalized assessed valuation of the Project Area is $4,786,053.
The following 11 taxing districts cover the proposed redevelopment project area:
Algonquin Township, Algonquin Township Road and Bridge, City of Crystal Lake Fire District, Crystal Lake Library District, Crystal Lake Park District, College District #528, McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District, School District #47, School District #155, City of Crystal Lake.