In-Depth Analysis of the Woodstock TIF District – Part 1

Further thoughts from Woodstock’s Susan Handelsman about the proposed Woodstock Tax Increment Financing District:


1. $150 million-plus of old Woodstock D200 debt is coming due in the next decade.

New property developed within the TIF will be exempted by law from paying down any of that debt.

Would anyone have voted for a $100+ million school building expansion bond referendum had it stated:

“The new residents for whom this expansion is being built will be exempted by law from paying for any of this principal or interest cost, nor can their property be encumbered as collateral for this debt as all other taxpayers’ will be, for the next 35 years”?

2.  The inflationary increase in value of $29 million EAV of TIF properties will be taxed and taken by TIF rather than paid to taxing bodies. This has nothing to do with development.

Because taxing bodies must get that inflationary increment somewhere to pay for their own inflationary expenses over the next 35 years, they spread the amount of TIF free-riders’ “inflationary” taxes primarily over NON-TIF property owners’ bills to pay on TIF’s behalf.

In 23 years, given 2% inflation, this amount of additional property tax cost to non-TIF taxpayers will be $22.4 million, at year 35 it will be $55.8 million.

3. The 2017 $29 million Equalized Assessed Valuation TIF Property Index Numbers appear to contain oddly low assessed values.  

The year the TIF EAV is frozen is the last year to correct assessment mistakes. Other taxpayers must bear 35 years’ burden of additional taxes to subsidize TIF property owners, including tax revenue which will occur if TIF EAV leaps in year 1 because assessments were mistakenly low in the year they were frozen.

UPDATE: *Assessor* has informed:  the $542,500 sale also included a property in Hebron Township. The price of $542,500 was for two properties, not just one. Claims “Developers’ parcels” assessed at $42 are per Statutory “Developer’s Exemption”  (35 ILCS 200/10-30) .  (Still questioning these assessments of vacant land next to American Community Bank and Walmart).  (Still  350 PINs in TIF to check on Athena.)

Here are Statute sections and Illinois publication sections referred by Assessor, still in dispute as to interpretation:  (35 ILCS 200/10-30)

“A recent Illinois Appellate Court decision says that land previously assessed under the farmland assessment law should be continued to be assessed as farmland based on the soils productivity index until the property no longer qualifies for the developers exemption.”

(and also)

“(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Section, the assessed valuation of property so platted and subdivided shall be determined each year based on the estimated price the property would bring at a fair voluntary sale for use by the buyer for the same purposes for which the property was used when last assessed prior to its platting.”

4. There are not many Woodstock properties which do NOT qualify for TIF inclusion under the blight-or-in-danger-of-blight standards cited in the TIF Eligibility Study: how did these TIF property owners get so lucky, WHO are they, why THEM and not EVERYONE?

There will be big winners and bigger losers in this TIF, apparently chosen by a small group of politicians and highly compensated staffers. If TIF is truly so benign in effect on property values and tax rates: WHY CAN’T EVERY PROPERTY WHICH QUALIFIES UNDER LIGHT/POTENTIAL BLIGHT STANDARDS BE INCLUDED IN TIF? Walmart is included in this TIF!

5. TIF Development will cause an enormous additional tax burden for all NON-TIF taxpayers; TIF-developed properties are not allowed to pay their fair share to schools, fire&rescue, City or County, MCC or MCCD or other taxing bodies for the social service provision they will require. 

As just one example, Woodstock states intention to build multi-unit housing on a ratio of TIF property which suggest that 1233 new housing units may be created (180unit/81ac: x/555). US Census American Community Survey data show Woodstock population at 29% school aged.  Woodstock Housing Impact Study cites about 2.2 inhabitants per multi-family dwelling unit (about 2.6 per single family home).  If 21% of TIF 2 is built up residential (17ac/81ac), at 180 units per 81 acres and the TIF is 555 acres (as per Plan published by Woodstock), there will be 1233 new residential units built.  Supposing only 1000 new residential units are added, with (.29 x 2.2) school aged children per unit, then 638 new students would be added to D200 enrollment, at $9000 per student per year levy cost to taxpayers (which rises annually).

That alone would amount to $5,742,000 new property taxes per year, rising annually, to be paid ONLY by taxpayers who are NOT TIF new development property owners.

(The amount which TIF may contribute to schools to cover the cost of new TIF enrollment is strictly limited in order to protect TIF bondholders. The estimated maximum is limited at: $396 per new multi-unit residential unit built, or assumed $396,000 per 1000 units). **

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More tomorrow.

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