School District Trying to Double-Dip City TIF Dollars

Monday’s city council Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting includes this:

Consideration of a request by DeKalb School District #428 for TIF assistance in the amount of $2,000,000.

The assistance would go toward construction-related improvements to two schools that lie in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, Founders Elementary and Clinton Rosette Middle School.

Here’s the thing: District 428 already gets a substantial portion of TIF funding, in the form of a surplus that is declared and distributed each year. What’s more, the surplus scheme was specifically engineered to a) make sure the big property tax players signed on to the amended, extended Central Area TIF of 2008, and b) to replace just this sort of intergovernmental agreement between city and school district.

The reason that TIF surplus is considered superior to the old type of intergovernmental agreements (that were purported to “make whole” the school district for its losses to TIF) is because TIF is restricted to certain capital uses and TIF surplus is not. However, the school district could certainly devote its share of surplus to replacing parking lots, roofs and boilers if it wanted.

I only have on hand the 2011 TIF surplus distribution numbers, but the nearly $1.8 million distributed to District 428 will give you a ballpark idea of what it gets out of the deal yearly.

2011 TIF Surplus Distribution Est photo scan0088.jpg

The above is only the property tax part of the surplus. There is also a sales tax surplus, though I do not know if it is distributed the same way.

The point is, however, that the surplus distribution was supposed to replace proposals like these. I consider this an attempt at a “double dip” into TIF and avoidance of a proper construction referendum.