A rendering of the Trulee Evanston development at 1815 Norwood Court.

The Evanston City Council is scheduled to approve an intergovernmental agreement Monday that would send funds from a slice of the city’s newest tax increment financing district to two local school districts.

The agreement provides for handing over to the schools 80% of the additional tax revenue they would have received if the Trulee Evanston senior housing development at 1815 Norwood Court, also known as 1815 Ridge Ave., had not been included in the Five Fifths TIF District.

An example used in the agreement indicates that if the Trulee development increased the equalized assessed valuation of the property it is on by $4 million, the agreement at current tax rates would yield about $104,000 a year for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and $66,000 for Evanston Township High School District 202.

Under state law authorizing such transfers, the funds are supposed to be used for capital improvements to school buildings and for vocational education programs.

District 65 has indicated it may use the funds to help finance construction of its planned new school in the 5th Ward.

The Trulee development is the only substantial new construction that’s occurred within the TIF district boundaries in the recent past.

So the agreement will sharply reduce the amount of funding available to the city for TIF district projects.

A couple of other sites have been proposed for smaller scale private development within the TIF district recently, but those have yet to get off the ground in the face of objections from neighbors and other issues.

TIF districts depend on increasing property values to fund public improvement projects within their boundaries.

The proposed intergovernmental agreement also commits the city to engage in “good faith discussions” with the school districts regarding possible additional revenue sharing if the city opts to redevelop its Civic Center site.

Last fall District 65 board members battled the city over plans for the TIF district and attempted do derail its adoption by the City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. If the TIF funds are directed towards Capital improvements, as they are supposed to be, in this arrangement, then, District 65 would be showing a sign of acting responsibly. District 65 does not own these funds. Let’s be clear about that. If the District ignores the rulings of State Law, the District is over-reaching. I think a well thought out financial plan for construction first, with pricing makes sense, while weighing the options of funding. In other words, a viability study with a plan A, B, and C. Funding options should include utilizing the sale or refurbishing of real estate owned by the District. Why should we be funding the building of a new school when the District has shown that it is doing a poor job of managing its existing assets?

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