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Evanston sees TIF revenue slump

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Revenue from tax increment financing districts in Evanston declined 13.3 percent last year — a bigger drop than the 10 percent decline seen countywide.

Those figures were in a report released today by Cook County Clerk David Orr, who says the decline is a result of the continuing drop in real estate values.

Declining values yield lower assessments, which reduce the increment of tax revenue collected by TIFs — which is based on the difference between current property values in the district and the value at the time the TIF was created.

In addition, Orr said, this year's lower state equalization factor adversely affected TIF revenue.

It's the fourth straight year that TIF revenues have dropped, Orr said.

Evanston's TIFs, which pulled in $8.1 million in 2010 generated just $7.1 million in 2011.

Despite the declines, or perhaps in part because of them, Evanston aldermen voted to approve a new Dempster-Dodge TIF last month, and they're considering two additional proposals, one for the Chicago-Main shopping district, and another, more tentative plan for a portion of downtown along Davis Street west of the Metra tracks.

One argument for forming new TIFs when property values are depressed is that it plumps up the revenue available to the TIF later, assuming property values rise in the future.

Among other sububs to which Evansotn is often compared, TIF revenue in Skokie declined 12.69 percent, almost as much as the drop in Evanston, while Oak Park saw a 3.2 percent increase in revenue from its TIF districts.

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