Town Center Redevelopment TIF 2
Winfield’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Revitalize Town Center - School District 34’s Lawsuit is the Only Obstacle For years, a series of Village Boards have sought to redevelop our Town Center. With careful planning and sufficient resources, we can attract new restaurants and retail businesses, create new public amenities and beautification projects, and permanently generate additional revenue for the Village, schools, parks, library, Fire Protection District and other taxing bodies.
These past efforts have produced some important results, but there is much more we can accomplish. The Village now has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to completely revitalize Town Center. A unique agreement with Central DuPage Hospital would deliver approximately $17 million and set plans in motion for the Village to redevelop Town Center without raising your taxes.
Unfortunately, there is one obstacle in our way. In November 2021, School District 34 filed a lawsuit against the Village, which threatens to block the CDH funding and Town Center redevelopment for years—or even jeopardize it entirely.
If you want Town Center developed without raising your taxes, we encourage you to make your voice heard with both the Village and SD 34 Boards.
Contact the Village: firstname.lastname@example.org
Continue reading to learn more about the status of the Village’s redevelopment plan and SD 34’s wasteful attempt to stop it.
Town Center Redevelopment and the Role of "TIFs" The Village’s redevelopment efforts have sought to overcome the inherent challenges in developing our Town Center. These include our relatively small population, a somewhat awkward layout of streets and land parcels, accelerating CDH expansion and the legacy of a time when some opposed commercial development. To be sure, Town Center also has advantages, including strong sources of potential customers from CDH and neighboring communities, as well as our Metra stop.
One important role of municipal government is to give economic development a “push” when needed, and the most useful tool a municipality has is a tax increment financing district (TIF).
When a TIF is established, the “equalized assessed value” (EAV) of all the properties within the TIF District area are frozen for the duration of the TIF - which is typically 23 years. All taxing bodies still receive property tax payments based on the “frozen” EAV rate. That doesn’t change.
Any additional property taxes generated by new development and an increase in the EAV over time will go into a designated TIF fund. The local municipality then uses those funds to incentivize new development and construct public infrastructure and amenities.
When the TIF expires, all the properties within the expired TIF are then taxed at the new, full assessed value on the tax rolls. This means taxing bodies benefit from all the new revenue they now receive thanks to the TIF-related development, while the community at large receives the benefit of a new vibrant area that improves the municipality’s image (which has an ancillary benefit for everyone’s property values) and provides amenities for residents that otherwise would not be available.
Village Negotiates Game-Changing Agreement with CDH In 2004, the Village Board established TIF #1, which allowed the Village to purchase and consolidate some land parcels, attract and maintain businesses and institute public improvements. We are still reaping the benefits of TIF #1 today, as demonstrated by the success of the Winfield Station apartments and construction of the Town Center #1 building.
However, much of the remaining projected revenue from TIF #1 is already reserved for the developer of Winfield Station, so a new solution is required.
As we look at Town Center today, we aren’t going to achieve our goals by sitting back and hoping the private sector will alone do the job for us. If the Village doesn’t take action to change the status quo, then we should expect Town Center to continue its current path, with more properties acquired by CDH and fewer prospects for economic development.
To spur future development, the Village negotiated an agreement with CDH to provide funding and to be a partner in developing extensive projects transforming our Town Center. CDH has constructed a parking deck to accommodate increased visitors and staff. As a nonprofit entity, the CDH parking deck would normally be exempt from property taxes. However, under Winfield’s agreement, CDH will place the deck on the property tax rolls for a minimum of 20 years.
Thanks to the foresight of the Village, we saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the funding we needed for Town Center development, and we seized it. Under the agreement, tax revenue from the parking deck will contribute to the Village’s redevelopment plans through a new TIF #2 District. Significantly, CDH has not asked for and will not receive any TIF funds.
More Than Just Economic Development – It’s About Public Safety TIF funds will be used for incentives to attract new businesses and assist existing businesses, as well as build a public plaza and other public developments that benefit residents and make Town Center a more appealing place to do business. TIF funds will also be used to build a much-needed police department/municipal center that will finally allow us to better address our public safety needs—while opening the current Village Hall’s prime location for retail development near the Metra station.
For too long, the men and women who serve and protect the residents, homes, businesses and institutions of Winfield have had to work in facilities that are inadequate to carry out their services at a level we expect. The limitations of the police department building impair the quality of service provided, the safety of personnel and the retention of staff. Police departments everywhere are challenged with employee retention as well as attracting new staff. Our facility’s defects add further challenges.
According to a Village-commissioned study by Williams Architects (April 2021), Winfield’s police facilities provide less than half the space of most other comparably sized DuPage County municipalities.
Through TIF #2, the Village has an opportunity to bring our police facilities into the modern age, providing our officers and citizens with the accommodations their jobs require and they deserve.
School District 34 Files Lawsuit, Blocks Town Center Development
Unfortunately, School District 34 has opposed TIF #2 and filed a lawsuit to prevent it from going into effect. SD 34 argues the CDH funding the Village secured specifically for Town Center development should instead be distributed among all local taxing bodies.
In the fall of 2021, Village and SD 34 spent weeks negotiating toward a compromise in which our school districts and other local governments would receive significant property tax dollars generated by TIF #2 through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA).
At the last negotiating session in November, the Village offered SD 34 a deal whereby the school district would get just under $10M in TIF proceeds over the next 23 years, out of the cumulative $21.9M to be received under that deal by all the local government taxing bodies. The Village also offered to decrease our overall budget for TIF development from $18M to $17M. This was the last, best offer the Village could make while ensuring that we still have enough funding left to execute the Town Center redevelopment plan.
And yet, SD 34 ended the negotiations with a last-minute response that the well-funded school district wanted several million more over the life of TIF #2. In our view, SD 34 made this move knowing full well it would scuttle the negotiations. Later that month, SD 34 filed its lawsuit shortly after the Village Board voted unanimously to establish TIF #2.
SD 34 is now gambling with up to $1M of its taxpayers’ money on litigation – in addition to the $1M the Village may have to pay to our lawyers – in the hopes they win the lawsuit and gain additional millions. For this, SD 34 is willing to scuttle the Village’s redevelopment of Town Center.
Make your voice heard! Again, if you want Town Center developed without raising your taxes, we encourage you to make your voice heard with both the Village and SD 34 Boards.
All messages sent to the Village will be read at the next Village Board meeting. SD 34 has stated messages will not be read at their Board meeting unless submitted via the Google form above.
We understand SD 34’s position on this poses a barrier for some residents and taxpayers, and the Village is able to assist getting your messages read and heard by the School Board at their next meeting.