City sends TIF dollars to schools

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Evanston City Council is scheduled to approve an interstate agreement on Monday that would send funds from part of the city’s newest tax district to two local school districts to fund tax increases.

The agreement provides for the schools to be given 80% of the additional tax revenue they would have received if the Trulee Evanston seniors’ community at 1815 Norwood Court, also known as 1815 Ridge Ave., had not been included in the Five Fifths TIF District.

An example used in the agreement shows that if the Trulee development adds $4 million to the settled appraised value of the property on which it is located, the agreement would be worth approximately $104,000 per year at current tax rates Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and would raise $66,000 for Evanston Township High School District 202.

Under state law authorizing such transfers, the funds are to be used for capital improvements to school buildings and vocational training programs.

District 65 has indicated it could use the funds to fund construction of its proposed new school in the 5th District.

The Trulee development is the only significant new development to have occurred within the boundaries of the TIF District in recent memory.

As a result, the agreement will greatly reduce the funding available to the city for TIF district projects.

A few other sites have recently been proposed for smaller private developments in the TIF district, but these have yet to get off the ground in the face of neighbor objections and other issues.

TIF districts depend on rising real estate values ​​to fund public improvement projects within their borders.

The proposed interstate agreement also requires the city to have “good faith discussions” with school districts about possible additional revenue sharing if the city elects to redevelop its Civic Center site.

Last fall, District 65 board members fought with the city over plans for the TIF district and attempted to prevent its acceptance by the city council.

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