New TIF districts, liquor code voted on by Council

By Ali Combs

The City Council voted on two new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts and the new liquor code at Monday’s meeting.

A TIF district is created to boost redevelopment and to cure blight in an area of need. In order to create funds for this redevelopment, the property tax rate on properties within the district is frozen for the duration of the TIF, usually 23 years. All taxing bodies then collect taxes at this rate until the TIF is over.

As the city invests money in the TIF district, new properties develop and existing properties grow and improve, said economic developer Roger Hopkins. As the area improves, the properties within the area accrue value that was not there when the TIF was created. As property taxes are paid on the current value of these properties, any amount more than the frozen tax rate is put into the TIF account.

Hopkins said the outcome of a TIF district would be beneficial to citizens of DeKalb.

“The TIF fund has to be spent on eligible uses,” Hopkins said. “These can include remodeling of buildings and redevelopment of properties, but it can also include public improvements; for example, to make the street more appealing and even reconstruct the street.”

First ward alderman David Jacobson said TIFs have a variety of uses and great potential to improve the city.

“If it’s used correctly, maintained and used according to the way it should be, it could be a great economic benefit to the city to have TIF districts,” Jacobson said. “There are a lot of benefits out there.”

One of the TIF districts voted on Monday will go from South Fourth Street from Taylor Street to Fairlane Avenue; the other district runs on Sycamore Road near Greenwood Acres Drive.

In addition to approval of the new TIF districts, the Council passed a series of amendments altering the city’s liquor code. Seven of the eight council members voted in favor of the amendments. Fifth ward alderman Ronald Naylor dissented.

“Having been through multiple changes to the liquor code, I want to remind everyone that as the amendments are put into effect, issues may come up. I’d like everyone to keep an open mind,” Naylor said.

The amendments will not affect liquor licenses issued prior to Jan. 28, 2013, until their renewal Sept. 1, 2013. All licenses issued after Jan. 28 will be under the new liquor code.

As a part of the recent improvements in the DeKalb Fire Department, seven firefighters were honored with promotions at the meeting, as well.