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TIF give and take

Council OKs taking part in state’s matching program

The Morris City Council Monday approved participating in the last year of the state’s matching program to increase the city’s TIF fund by millions.

The state matching program is for sales tax dollars generated in the TIF district. 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.

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.

This year, the city will have to contribute $1.3 million to get the states match of $1.7 million, resulting in $3 million dollars in the TIF fund. The council approved doing so unanimously, with five aldermen present.

The large increase in potential dollars from last year is due to a new business that moved into the district, which contributed a much greater amount of sales tax than the district had in the past.

Typically the city has taken the money from the General Fund to contribute, but Monday City Clerk John Enger said they hadn’t decided what fund or funds to take it from yet, and that the city was working with its TIF attorney on this. The budget will have to be amended when it is decided.

Finance and Administration Committee Chairman Alderman Bill Martin said the committee voted in favor of this with the upcoming sewer project, which will take up a lot of TIF dollars, in mind.

“To me it was a no-brainer to put out $1.3 million to get $1.7 million,” he said.

Alderman Don Hansen asked Enger if he felt the budget could withstand the $1.3 million and Enger said that, taken from the proper funds, it could.

In other business, the council approved some water and sewer items.

The council accepted the SCADA bid from Micro-Comm for $314,800, which was below estimates. The SCADA, radio telemetry, project is for the central sewage treatment plant and lift stations. The system is an electronic communications system to alert the sewer department of problems through radios.

The city has a system now, but the alert system is done through AT&T hard line circuits, which are expensive. Through the radios, the electronic calls alerting a problem are done through radio waves and, therefore, the city will see a cost savings with the elimination of the hard lines. The water department uses the radio system now for the wells, tanks and pump stations.

In addition, the bid for the first phase of the long-term control plan project was also accepted from “D” Construction for $3,787,825. This project is required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and will eliminate any overflow from heavy rains going into the Illinois River or creeks.

This will help keep basements from flooding in the second and fourth wards, said Mayor Richard Kopczick.

It was also announced at the meeting that the regularly scheduled Oct. 31 Planning Commission meeting has been moved to Nov. 1 due to Halloween.

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