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Village Vision News

Board approves TIF district

Thursday, January 11, 2018

At the year’s first Board meeting on January 2, the Village of Forsyth Board of Trustees took a major step toward encouraging commercial and residential development by voting to establish a large Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. This will be Forsyth’s first TIF district.

The primary goals of establishing a TIF district, according to a press release from the Village, are “to encourage commercial development along the Route 51 corridor, including Hickory Point Mall, and spur residential development in the parcels surrounding Maroa-Forsyth Grade School, known as Prairie Winds.”

The TIF district runs from Shafer Street on the north and stretches as far east as Sawyer Road so as to include the Prairie Winds development. It runs south from there along the Route 51 corridor and includes, of course, Hickory Point Mall.

Village of Forsyth Community and Economic Development Coordinator Andrew Zupkoff called Forsyth “the premier retail and restaurant market in Macon County.”

“This TIF district, along with our strong traffic counts, and desirable community statistics such as household income, will ensure Forsyth remains the top choice for retailers and restaurants seeking to locate here,” Zupkoff said.

Steve Kline, of the Bloomington-based firm TIF Illinois, commended the decision to establish the TIF at the start of a new year saying that the timing would allow the Village to “have a full 23 years,” the maximum lifetime of a TIF district per law.

“We look forward to working with Andrew and David (Village Administrator Strohl) and all of you to attract private investment to the area and then to help you remain in compliance,” Kline said.

Last April, trustees voted to enter into a professional services agreement with TIF Illinois to assist in the process of establishing and administering a TIF district.

“It’s a tool that municipalities have available to them in the state of Illinois to use to try to attract new private investment to their community,” Kline said at the time to describe reasons for pursuing a TIF district.

According to TIF Illinois, tax increment financing is “a means by which cities, towns, and villages may achieve a level of community and economic development far beyond current expectations.”

TIF districts were established in 1977 by the Illinois General Assembly, with its adoption of the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. Illinois has more than 1,300 TIF districts, with several in Central Illinois, including in Mount Zion and Springfield.

Residents will not see any new taxes due to establishing a TIF district. A TIF district’s revenues — the tax increment part of a TIF — “come from the increased assessed value of property and improvements within the district,” according to TIF Illinois.

Grocery store still a priority

“Specifically, for the last several years, a great number of residents have strongly desired to have a grocery store in Forsyth, which we have been unable to attract,” Zupkoff said. “This TIF district now allows the Village to most effectively put our money where our mouth is, increasing our ability to entice such coveted projects.

“We’ll work directly with the commercial real estate and development communities to encourage deals that make Forsyth an even more desirable place to live for current and prospective residents.”

All votes were Yea; the measure passed.

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