PBL signs off on agreement for TIF funds

PAXTON — The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school board approved an agreement last Wednesday that guarantees the school district will receive at least $6.5 million in tax revenue generated from Paxton’s newly implemented tax increment financing (TIF) district.

The funds will be used by PBL toward capital-improvement projects that the district intends to pursue to address needs that result from development in the city’s TIF district.

The city council last week also signed off on the agreement.

“I’m just happy we worked together and got an agreement we can both live with and move forward,” PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure said.

Besides the money committed for capital projects, the agreement also allows for other funds generated by development in the TIF district to be provided to PBL as tax increment funds build.

All of that money will be distributed out of a special fund under the city’s control that will collect all property tax revenue generated through development in the TIF district that is above and beyond the current amount collected.

Projects PBL may use TIF funds to pursue include:

— $2.5 million in heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at PBL High School in 2016.

— $1.215 million in technology upgrades in the school district from 2017 through 2035 — an estimated $63,947 in technology upgrades per year.

— $450,000 to install new asphalt in the parking lots at PBL High School and PBL Junior High School in 2018.

— $400,000 to upgrade and expand the chorus room, band room, weight room and girls’ and boys’ locker rooms at the high school in 2019.

— $400,000 to replace the bus garage the district uses on North Market Street, plus the storage and maintenance building there, in 2024.

— $315,000 to replace the roof at the high school/junior high complex in 2025.

— $260,000 to remodel the office and faculty facilities and create a new indoor concession area at the high school in 2021.

— $225,000 to update classrooms and vocational areas at the high school in 2023.

— $200,000 to remove asbestos from district buildings in 2017.

— $175,000 to paint the gymnasium ceiling and walls at the high school and junior high school in 2020.

— $100,000 to paint the junior high/high school walls in the hallways of both schools or install a vinyl wall covering half way up in the hallways and gymnasium in 2029.

— $100,000 for new restrooms at the athletic complex at Zimmerman Field in 2025.

— $80,000 for resurfacing the all-weather track at the high school in 2022 and $80,000 for resurfacing the track again in 2032.

The long-discussed agreement between PBL and the city that allows for the projects was requested to protect the school district from any financial harm the TIF district could create as a result of economic growth, specifically the hundreds of new homes proposed in the TIF district. The residential growth would mean more services would have to be provided by the school district — along with possibly having to expand or even build new schools. And because the growth would occur in a TIF district, the school district would not receive any extra property tax revenue from the redeveloped property over the next 23 years.

Other business
Also at last Wednesday’s school board meeting:

— The board discussed a tentative version of the calendar for the 2013-14 school year. The board is expected to vote on a final version of the calendar in March. Among the changes to the calendar, when compared with this year’s, is a three-day break for Thanksgiving, rather than a two-day break.

— The board voted to seek bids for both the Clara Peterson Elementary School driveway-replacement project and the replacement of lighting and electrical work at Zimmerman Field. Bids will be due April 5.

— The board discussed the proposed renewal of an intergovernmental agreement between the school district and Paxton Park District. The agreement outlines policies for the use of school facilities for park district programs, as well as sets an annual fee for the use of those facilities. It is up for renewal in April. “It was the board’s determination that we would agree to the same terms as last year,” McClure said.

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