South Beloit schools object to TIF proposal

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SOUTH BELOIT - Representatives from the South Beloit School District spoke in opposition Monday to a new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District in the city, saying it would be detrimental to the school district.

South Beloit School District Superintendent Scott Fisher and South Beloit Board of Education member Michelle Becorest were the only people who spoke during a hearing held Monday regarding the proposed Gardner Street/Park Avenue TIF District.

The TIF District was proposed as part of the incentive deal the city made with Mid-States Concrete to convince the company to annex into the city. The TIF District was not approved Monday and will be up for a vote by the city council at a meeting in May.

Becorest said the TIF District would freeze tax revenue generated by properties in the district, which can be detrimental to taxing bodies such as school districts and municipalities. She said tax revenue for property in the TIF district essentially will be frozen for 24 years if the TIF is approved.

"Our costs (in the school district) don't freeze for 24 years," she said.

Fisher said he is worried as a resident of South Beloit that the benefits of the TIF district will not be as great and the city anticipates.

"I ask as a property owner for you to consider this. I don't want to see my taxes raised to pay for this in the future or to see services cut," he said.

Mayor Ted Rehl said the deal with Mid-States Concrete brought the company into the city and solidified the city's boundaries. He said he understands the school district's objections.

"We've heard the comments of the school district. They are well thought out and legitimate," Rehl said.

The TIF District allows property owners in the district to pay the current tax amount on properties. Any increase of tax would go into a fund to be used for development of the property.

City officials said a potential for development of the Mid-States property would be infrastructure improvements, including switching from a septic system the property currently uses and connecting to the city sewer system.

The city's first TIF District was established in 2015. It included the areas along Gardner Street from Highway 251 west to Blackhawk Boulevard, and along Blackhawk Boulevard from Gardner Street to Charles Street.

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