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Morris mulls pros, cons of state's give and take offer

Transfer of $1.3 million would net additional $1.7 million for TIF fund

The Morris City Council's Finance and Administration Committee this week discussed whether to participate in the state's matching program for sales tax dollars in its TIF district.

The committee met Thursday evening and will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, prior to the full council meeting to make a recommendation to the council, said Mayor Richard Kopczick Friday.

In previous years, the city has usually participated in the matching program. Last year, it contributed about $359,000, and the state contributed about $559,000 to the TIF fund, which resulted in more than $900,000 going to the TIF fund.

In 2010, however, the city did not participate in the program because the city would have had to give somewhere around $400,000, and the state was only going to contribute about the same. At the time, the general fund was better off with the $400,000 rather than it going into the TIF fund, said city officials then.

But this year is the last year for the program, and the city could get a much larger amount of money if it's willing to contribute a large amount itself.

A TIF District freezes the assessed value of properties in the district. Any tax money generated from increases in value of those properties then goes into a special fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

A new business moved into the district, which contributed a much greater amount of sales tax than the district had in the past, said Kopczick. Which means the city's TIF fund could get a large increase if the city participates in the matching program.

If the council decides it can move $1.3 million into the TIF fund, the state would contribute about $1.7 million and, therefore, the TIF fund could get about $3 million in total.

"That's roughly $3 million this year that could go into TIF for continued projects," said Kopczick.

The city is working with its TIF attorneys to see if it can pull money from other funds to contribute to TIF, rather than just from the General Fund.

"The General Fund is in good shape, but $1.3 million is a big chunk of change," said the mayor.

"Three million is tough to walk away from, too," he added. "We're asking our TIF attorney about how to creatively take advantage of this $1.7 million from the state without doing fiscal damage to the remainder of our funds."

In other business, the finance committee made a recommendation that the council approve salary increases for the mayor's position and city clerk's. Kopczick said he left the meeting for this discussion.

The draft resolution that will be up for approval Monday gives the clerk's position $72,100 for the fiscal year starting May 1, 2013; $74,275 for the fiscal year starting May 1, 2014; $76,500 for the next year; and $79,000 for the fiscal year starting May 1, 2016.

The mayor's position would get $83,000 for the fiscal year starting May 1, 2013; $85,500 for fiscal year starting May 1, 2014; $88,000 for the next year; and $90,750 for the fiscal year commencing May 1, 2016, and running through April 30, 2017, "and each fiscal year thereafter."

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