County commissioners approve TIF district extension

By Gary Scott on March 7, 2016 at 12:48pm

A map of the South Jacksonville TIF district

Morgan County Commissioners approved a request to increase the length of implementation of the South Jacksonville Tax Increment Financing District.

The village is in the 15th year of a 23-year district agreement, and the commissioner approval will extend the district by eight years. New laws necessitated the approval of taxing bodies, which include Morgan County.

Property taxes generated in a TIF district stay in the TIF to help with things like infrastructure costs. A TIF agreement encourages investment with the district by not collecting property taxes on new development in the early stages of projects.

Considering that normally, no taxes generated in the district go to any other taxing bodies, Commissioner Bill Meier says this agreement will be unique.

“This is the first time, I think, in the history of any TIF in Morgan County, that the taxing bodies are going to be receiving a percent of the money that goes into the TIF and that was a point that was given to us from South Jacksonville, we will be receiving sales tax, a portion of it, that would be generated from new construction and new buildings in the TIF district,” he says.

Meier says the county will see about $26,000 in revenue from the agreement annually.

Although the biggest concern appears to have been the revenue distribution, Meier says the board had some reservations about the extension initially.

“Basically what a TIF district is for is taking a blighted area, such as, let’s say downtown Jacksonville, and putting the money in to go ahead and re-do the crumbling buildings and infrastructure. This was more on farm ground than a blighted area, but they got it passed, and since they did, they’ve done a lot out there for South Jacksonville,” explains Meier.

The TIF district has attracted multiple projects in recent years in the village, including a new building for Prairie Power in 2011, and a $30-million-dollar grain handling facility for Bartlett Grain Company in 2013.

“We have some thoughts on maybe a business coming in. We haven’t gotten the final word on that. Everything hinged on the extension and then get it passed through the Legislature. So, this is just the first of a few more steps we have to make. But, once that’s done, we’ve gotten the blessings, and I think this potential business is going to generate a lot of construction jobs,” says South Jacksonville Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Waltrip..

“I can’t see it not being a winning situation for everybody.”

Commissioner Meier said this morning a letter has been sent to State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer and State Senator Sam McCann.

The other major taxing body needed to approve the TIF is District 117. The school board gave the proposal a green light in January. The district will benefit through a nearly $2-million-dollar bond sale, which will go towards the renovation of South Jacksonville Elementary.

There are several other taxing bodies that need to approve the district, including the Jacksonville Airport Authority.