83-acre expansion of its TIF district secured two needed approvals Monday
with a public hearing and final vote slated for a special June 30 meeting of
the townís Redevelopment Commission.
The process must be
completed by July 1.
The Advisory Plan
Commission and the Town Council voted unanimously at separate meetings last
night to advance bringing into the TIF boundaries both the Traditions
apartment complex and the land zoned for a future downtown district
southeast of the apartments.
The RDCís proposed
budget includes $135,000 a year for 10 years going to the Duneland School
Corp. to replace the estimated property taxes it wonít receive in its
capital projects fund. Thatís because property taxes generated from new
development in the TIF district would go exclusively to the RDC for its use
rather than being shared with other taxing units.
During the Plan
Commission meeting some members questioned specifics of the TIF expansion
resolution and a companion amendment to the TIF district development plan.
attorney Charles Parkinson said the commissionís role in the process is to
determine if the development proposed is consistent with the townís
comprehensive plan. He noted the specifics at this point are intentionally
broad and donít commit the RDC to any project at this time.
The $10 million
draft budget, which can be changed, includes $5 million to implement the
downtown comprehensive plan through public improvements; $2.75 million for
roads, sidewalks and pedestrian linkages in the TIF district; $150,000 for a
monument sign along Interstate 94; and $500,000 for consultant fees.
that TIF money also can be spent for projects adjacent to the district
itself if that spending benefits the district; capital purchases like police
and fire vehicles also are allowed in certain circumstances.
Responding to a
commission question, town financial consultant Dan Botich of Cender &
Company said 27 percent of the townís 4,400 acres would be under TIF
restrictions if the new expansion is approved. TIF money goes to the RDC
fund and not the townís general fund.
The Town Council,
three of whose members also sit on the RDC, discussed their required TIF
resolution briefly before a 5-0 vote to allow it. Botich said the budget as
proposed is inclusive and broad but not binding.
Paving prompts rift
On a separate
matter the Town Council split 3-2 to hire consultant SEH over town engineer
Global Engineering and Surveying to prepare specifications for upcoming
Members Greg Miller
and Jim McGee said they were relying on the opinion of Gene Weibl, who had
solicited and reviewed the requests for proposals. Yesterday, Adam Higgins
of SEH and Shem Khalil of Global both explained their methodology for
preparing a paving plan.
Weibl said he
believed SEHís proposal was more comprehensive and could enable the town to
pave more roads this year for its estimated $500,000 budget. SEHís quote was
$37,100 including $14,850 for soil borings. Global quoted $29,000.
Miller said the two
approaches each company proposes could be equally valid; he noted it
highlights the need for the town to develop a streamlined way to receive
apples-to-apples proposals so bids can be more easily compared for the best
use of taxpayer money.
McGee said it could
benefit the town to see if SEHís approach is the right direction.
Freeze and Mike Perrine were in the minority. Freeze said there are
coordination benefits using the town engineer, and thereís no need to
overlook an existing good relationship. Perrine said he, too, didnít see
sufficient reason not to go with the town engineer.
After the meeting
Weibl said portions of the roads eyed for reconstruction, paving or other
improvements are the east and west sides of Old Porter Road, South Babcock
Road, Verplank Drive, Haglund Road, and some roads in the Harbor Trails and