Notification question forces TIF-process redo in Morton Grove
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:14AM
MORTON GROVE — Morton Grove officials have restarted the process to create a new tax-increment-financing district because they are not sure if property owners were properly notified of a required public hearing.
Peter Falcone, assistant to the village administrator, said village officials are not certain that property owners within the boundaries of the Dempster/Waukegan TIF District were notified by certified mail of a public hearing held earlier this year. The hearing is a prerequisite to the approval or ordinances creating the TIF district.
Falcone said letters were sent out by the village’s attorney for the project, but they may not have been certified.
“We couldn’t confirm if certified letters were sent to property owners,” Falcone said. “That was the question. Our lawyers could not confirm that.”
Falcone said there is a 99.9 percent chance everything was done properly. Still, without 100-percent certainty, he said, the TIF district could be challenged later.
Once created, the TIF district remains in effect for 23 years unless dissolved earlier by the village.
“If that .1-percent chance comes up it would unravel everything,” Falcone said. “That could happen 10 years down the road.”
Under the new schedule the village will hold a meeting of the Joint Review Board for the TIF district on Aug. 2 to get input from representatives of taxing bodies that will be impacted by the new district.
At the original meeting representatives of all but the Morton Grove Park District expressed support for the new district.
A new public hearing is slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 10 in conjunction with the regular village-board meeting. The hearing, as well as other meetings on the district, will be held at the Richard T. Flickinger Municipal Center, 6101 Capulina Ave.
The village board is schedule to hold a first reading of the ordinance approving the TIF redevelopment plan at the Sept. 24 meeting, with a final vote Oct. 8.
The new TIF district is located generally at Dempster Street and Waukegan Road with the area roughly bounded by Sayre Avenue on the west, Prairie View Park on the north, the Cook County Forest Preserves on the east and Churchill Street on the south.
It includes Prairie View Plaza, as well as the former Produce World property on the northwest corner of Dempster and Waukegan.
Falcone said officials do not anticipate that the need to repeat the process of creating the district will delay redevelopment. Though the village has had discussions with the owner of Prairie View Plaza about its redevelopment, no applications have been made to the village so far, he said.
“We don’t anticipate any delays,” Falcone said. “It’s up to developers to come to the village.”
In a TIF district, increases in property assessments resulting from redevelopment generate additional property-tax revenue that the village can use to help promote further redevelopment through such measures as infrastructure improvements.
But Falcone said that until some development starts, the village will not have any money for redevelopment work.
“They (developers) have to start development. We have no money to give them,” he said.