TIF Transparency in Chicago

Credit aldermen Manny Flores and Scott Waguespack for this, which passed unanimously last week:

2-45-155 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Sunshine Ordinance. The following TlF-related documents for each active TIF district shall be made publicly available on the City of Chicago, Department of Community Development website:

1. The ordinances establishing each TIF district, including all attachments, and any amendments thereto;
2. The ordinances authorizing each TIF redevelopment agreement, including any attachments, any amendments thereto and accompanying Economic Disclosure Statements;
3. Written staff reports presented to the Community Development Commission related to TIF-funded projects;
4. TIF overviews prepared by the Department of Community Development and annual reports prepared pursuant to 651LCS 5111-74.4-5(d);
5. City-issued Certificates of Completion and any required annual employment certifications prepared pursuant to TIF redevelopment agreements.

[H/T K.S.]

All such ordinances as described in (1) and (2) above shall be made available on the City of Chicago, Department of Community Development website within seven business days of their passage and publication in the Journal ofthe Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Chicago. All such documents as described in (3), (4) and (5) above shall be made available on the City of Chicago, Department of Community Development website within fourteen business days of their completion in final form.

Da Mare must be thrilled. I think he loves his TIFs more than he loves his Home Rule.

Here is how it came about:

Waguespack and Flores created the ordinance when they discovered a lack of information available to them regarding the unexpected closure of Republic Windows and Doors in December. The aldermen suspected that the company did not fulfill its original promise to use $10 million in TIF dollars to help create jobs. As the TIF expired in 2006, the city could not recover the money.

Currently, citizens and even aldermen have to dig through mountains of city documents or send in Freedom of Information Act requests to get information on TIFs, which use future taxpayer dollars to fund current development projects in a particular area.

Mountains is right, which you already know if you’ve ever tried to trace the evolution of a TIF project, no matter how small [cough]skating rink[cough]. Key will be excellent organization of the material.

DeKalb should look to this ordinance as a model for similar action–a job for DeKalb Citizens for Transparency?