On Dec. 9, the Oak Park Township board voted against levying the full amount of revenue it might have with the expiration of the Madison Street and Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts this year.
The township was expected to levy the full amount, but the board changed its tune to offer a bit of respite to burdened taxpayers, voting 3-2 to only take 38 percent of what was available.
"They took a portion," said Township Manager Gavin Morgan. "They could have taken another $219,000, but they decided to provide property taxpayers some relief."
The board voted to increase its levy over last year by 5.1 percent, a figure that includes the 1.9 percent cap set by the consumer price index, capturing the value of new growth outside of the TIF districts and capturing part of the value of property within the expiring TIF districts.
That final component, which represents about 2.7 percent of the 2019 levy, is equal to what the township received last year from the TIF distributions by the village.
Due to a 2011 legal settlement, the village was required to distribute funds from TIF districts among taxing bodies.
The township's 5.1 percent levy hike amounts to an increase of $253,550 from last year and totals $5,222,170, according to Morgan.
"We are the smallest taxing body," he said. "Last year we were only 2.46 percent of the total tax bill."
The decision not to capture the entire amount of funds from the expiring TIFs could complicate the operation of the township's Youth Interventionist Program.
"We are going to continue operating it at our current level," Morgan said.
The township plans to assess other ways to keep the program going.
Last month, the village of Oak Park voted not to fund the partnership-based interventionist program due to the township's plans to capture the entire amount of available TIF revenue. The village board decided that the township could afford to pay for the program without village help, using TIF revenue.
"The township board sees value in it and we'll look for ways to keep providing that service to the community," Morgan said.
This has been updated to clarify a quote.
Answer Book 2019
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