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Village Board Approves Property Purchase in TIF District

Parcel on Archer Avenue is in blighted area targeted for redevelopment.

Village Board Approves Property Purchase in TIF District

The village took another step toward creating an enhanced gateway into the village out of a blighted industrial area between the I&M Canal and Archer Avenue.

The Lemont Village Board Monday approved the purchase of property at 10990 Archer Avenue through a substitution purchase contract between the village, owner John Ratkovich Equities LP and the State Bank of Countryside, in the amount of $375,000.

The property has gone into foreclosure since the original April 20, 2012 agreement between the village and the property owner, who is in the midst of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Village Administrator Ben Wehmeier explained the purchase will mark the fifth parcel of property the village will acquire in an area that Lemont has designated as a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) zone.

The property is part of the village’s Gateway TIF District, which was created in 2009 to include about 156 acres of property between the I&M Canal and Archer Avenue, as well as the industrial district west of Route 83.

According to the village’s website, the goal of the Gateway TIF District is “to spur economic growth in area that has inadequate utilities, deleterious land use, and deteriorating infrastructure.”

Mayor Brian Reaves said the village is working to make the area a “true enhancement” for the village.

The process takes a lot of time, Reaves said, and more cleanup work needs to be done at the site. But the mayor said he hopes to have some announcements soon about plans for redevelopment of the area.

“It’s got to be right for the village,” Reaves said. “Basically, we’re taking a terrible piece of property and tearing it down, making it viable.”

About TIF Districts       

According to the village website: TIF (tax increment financing) is a tool used by local governments to encourage economic growth within TIF districts by dedicating tax revenue generated within the TIF for improvements within the district. The state allows a TIF district to be in place for up to 23 years. 

When a TIF district is established, the current value of property within the district is used to establish the "base" tax revenue received by the various taxing bodies (e.g. the village, school district, township, park district, etc.).  This base tax revenue continues to be distributed to the various taxing bodies throughout the life of the TIF district. 

The future growth of property values within the TIF district, and the additional property tax generated by the increased values, is known as the increment.  The increment is used by the village to make investments in the TIF district to encourage continued economic growth within the district. Location within a TIF district does not alter the property tax rate for individual property owners.

Village will save money by refinancing bonds

The board approved an ordinance Monday authorizing the refinancing of 2004 waterworks and sewerage refunding bonds. A memo from the village administrator and treasurer explains the refinancing would provide a net interest savings on the bond of more than $225,000 over its term.

“Rates are very favorable now,” said Wehmeier on Monday. “We are not extending the life of the bonds, but we will save more money.”

In other action, the board:

  • Approved an amendment to the municipal code relating to part-time police officers, aligning the code with state statutes.
  • Granted a variation for a deck at a home on Keepataw Lane.
  • Tabled a resolution for a final plat of resubdivision for Lemont Plaza at 1052-1150 State Street until the Sept. 10 meeting.

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