Letter from the Mayor: Tax Increment Financing Districts in Marengo

Over the last several months, we have heard a great deal about TIFs, (Tax Increment Financing Districts), in the City of Marengo. This has caused confusion among some of our citizens; and I would like to take a moment to speak to you about this issue. The Downtown TIF is approximately 52-acres, with the total taxes paid by these properties in 2009 being $640,742. The Eastern Corridor TIF is approximately 33-acres, with the total taxes paid by these properties in 2009 being $113,404. Each taxing body will continue to receive its share of those taxes. The downtown area represents 2.09 percent of the school district's EAV (Equalized Assessed Value); and the Eastern corridor is 0.36 percent of the school district's total EAV. This means that between the two TIF districts, the city would place a total of 2.45 percent of the school district's EAV within a TIF district. I know times are tough; and each and every taxing body had to tighten their belt over the last few years. However, each district will continue to get every cent in tax dollars that they get today once the TIF is established. With 2.45 percent of the total EAV within a TIF, that means that 97.55 percent of the school district real estate tax revenue will continue to increase at a normal rate.

I believe these TIFs to be in the best interest of the City of Marengo. The recent income and corporate tax increases from the State of Illinois have made it more difficult than ever to attract new businesses to Illinois. The City of Marengo must grow; and TIFs have proven to be effective development tools throughout the state. The city wants to expand our commercial tax base so that we can begin to ease the tax burden on our residents. In order to compete with other municipalities in luring new businesses, we must take advantage of all economic development tools available to us. TIFs exist in communities with greater commercial, retail, and industrial bases, and areas that are more densely populated than Marengo--such as Cary, Crystal Lake, Harvard, Huntley, and Woodstock. These cities have grown at great rates over the last decade and yet still need to provide TIF incentives to lure new development.

I will end on this note. When I ran for mayor six years ago, I ran on a growth platform. Since that time, the economy across our nation has fallen on difficult times. I have to do what I feel is best for the city and what will ultimately help our city grow. We need to create jobs for our residents. We need to put people to work and start generating more sales tax revenue in Marengo. These TIFs will facilitate commercial, retail, and perhaps, even industrial growth in our community. With unemployment being what it is in the county, we need to do what we can to help put our residents back to work. As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me either at Marengo City Hall at 815-568-7112, or at my home at 815-568-6559.