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PAXTON — The Paxton City Council will hold a public meeting later this month to explain changes to a proposed redevelopment plan for the city’s proposed tax-increment financing (TIF) district.
The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, is merely for informational purposes and does not replace a public hearing that must also be held prior to implementing the TIF district, said the city’s TIF attorney, Dan Schuering. The public hearing is tentatively expected to be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at City Hall.
This month’s meeting is being held to inform residents living in the proposed redevelopment area encompassing the TIF district of changes to the TIF district’s redevelopment plan and boundaries, Schuering said. Comments will also be taken from the public, he said.
“Notices are going in the mail tomorrow to people within that area,” Schuering said Monday. “The meeting is to, in particular, give notice to people who have residences in the area and also the taxpayers, so that they have an opportunity to comment on the redevelopment plan before it’s finalized.”
The proposed redevelopment plan, which has been revised recently, has a new map showing more properties involved, Schuering noted. There are now more than 75 residences included in the proposed TIF district, along with several commercial properties on North Market Street that were not originally included.
City Attorney Bob Martensen told the city council Monday that some of the property added to the TIF district includes the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district’s bus garage, several residences, Paxton Ready Mix and Bull’s Custom Shop, all on North Market Street.
Besides changes to the redevelopment area, there are also changes in the redevelopment plan that apply to the TIF district’s $74 million budget. The budget calls for the city to spend all the revenue the TIF district generates over a 23-year period; the revenue, which is generated through increased property taxes following development, is used to help reimburse developers and business owners for improving the conditions of their properties. Some of the revenue — about $12.5 million — also is given to various taxing bodies in Paxton to pursue various projects.
At this month’s public meeting, terms of a signed intergovernmental “revenue-sharing” agreement with the PBL school district about the use of funds generated by the TIF district will be revealed. Among the $6.5 million in projects that the PBL school district intends to pursue using TIF funds is a $400,000 project to replace the bus garage the district uses on North Market Street, plus the storage and maintenance building there, in 2024.
Meanwhile, a date has yet to be established for a meeting of the “joint review board” — a temporary public body that advises the city council whether to move forward with the TIF district’s implementation.
“We’ll be establishing a date for the joint review board meeting at a later date,” Schuering said.
The city has been working with Schuering to implement the TIF district for five years. After a public hearing was held in March, the TIF district was supposed to be implemented no later than June this year. However, the city was required to delay its implementation this summer because the city did not meet all of its legal obligations when a public hearing for the TIF district was held in March. To address the issue, the council had approved setting a new public hearing for July 31, with the anticipation of implementing the TIF district in August. But the July 31 hearing was canceled.
Schuering said earlier this summer that a new hearing is being held not only because a legal notice was not published in a local newspaper in advance of the public hearing in March, but also because of significant changes to the TIF district’s redevelopment plan that were made since the initial public hearing.
The TIF district would generate money as properties are improved in the district, which includes the Interstate 57 and downtown areas.
Rantoul developer Joe Warner has acquired several parcels of land both east and west of I-57. East of I-57 and south of Ottawa Road, Warner is proposing a “multi-faceted” residential and commercial subdivision. West of I-57, he is proposing a variety of uses including multi-family housing and commercial and industrial facilities.
Schuering said Monday that there are “ongoing discussions” between the city and Warner and his attorney regarding a proposed annexation agreement that will be attached to the final redevelopment plan.