South Jax TIF extension creates possibility for South Elementary renovation

By Ryne Turke on January 12, 2016 at 12:57pm

Money generated through South Jacksonville’s potential tax increment financing extension deal could be used to renovate the village’s elementary school.

South Jacksonville’s current TIF agreement has eight years remaining on it. According to Village President Steve Waltrip, the village is requesting the TIF be extended an additional 12 years.

During a meeting on Monday with representatives from Jacob & Klein LTD, South Jacksonville and District 117 officials reviewed how both parties could benefit from the TIF extension.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek filled in some details from the meeting.

“The steps they asked us for is that they want the support for each of the taxing bodies. The school district is in a position that we can’t sell any health and life safety bonds, due to not having a debt service extension base. Getting a large sum of money to do renovations is a rare opportunity for the school district and we are very interested in pursuing that.”

Still, Ptacek had some concerns with the TIF agreement, on behalf of District 117.

“With the TIF agreement we have to be concerned about how much property tax revenue we are losing if the TIF went away and those places went onto our EAV roles and we generated straight property tax. I have to compare that amount to the opportunity to sell bonds to generate money for a large some for immediate school improvement.”

Ptacek says the estimated $7 million renovation of South Elementary, which was built in the 1950s, would be very similar to the same project set to take place at Lincoln Elementary.

“Taking out all the asbestos floor tiles and basically striping the building down to the studs. We want brand new windows and a second set of bathrooms. When these renovation plans are complete they will pretty much look like new buildings.”

Waltrip believes increasing the TIF is a “win-win for everyone”, because District 117’s sales tax revenue would benefit from economic development in the village.

“If you get a lead retailer then they will have piggy-back stores that will follow them. That is what we are looking for.”

The District 117 board and Village trustees must approve South Jacksonville’s request to extend the TIF before any officially negations can be made.