TIF committee discusses different projects

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

The city of Aledo TIF committee heard from one of four applicants on its agenda for Tax Increment Financing at Thursday night's Jan. 7 meeting. Jerry Hall, of Hall's Shoes, 110 E. Main, submitted an application to the city for a TIF grant. He is asking for $6,700 to tuck point the east and south sides of his building. "Just the areas that need the attention," he told members of the committee. He said, "This is for a grant."

One alderman asked about window replacement.

"The windows are in good shape. They're not in need of repair," he said. He pointed out that the city had given out TIF grants for new construction, including a grant for hundreds of thousands of dollars, so he thought he might qualify for a grant as well. In April 2009 the Aledo City Council approved a $200,000 TIF grant to GDC, LLC to help purchase the Henderson Corner at Ill. Rte 94 and Ill. Rte.17. Midwest Bank is currently in the process of constructing a new bank there.

"The grant did not constitute the whole cost of the project," said Alderman Robert Rillie.

"I'd like to see us do a dollar for dollar grant," Alderman Rich Maynard suggested.

The topic of criteria for giving out TIF funds, called "parameters" came up a number of times during the nearly two hour TIF committee meeting. Alderman present at the TIF meeting included chairman Barry Cooper, Terry Bewley, Randy Mattson, Richard Hunter, Rich Maynard and Robert Rillie. Aledo has around 11 years remaining on its current residential and business TIF, which was originally started Dec. 22, 1986. In 2003 the TIF district time frame was expanded from the original 23 years to 35 years, by the Illinois legislature.

A sales tax TIF was established in 1989, and ended in 2007.

The committee is planning on putting together the criteria for any future TIF applicants at its next TIF committee meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 21. There are three guests invited to attend - Thomas Henderson, executive director of Illinois Tax Increment Association, Nancy Hill of Ehlers and Associates, a Chicago based consulting firm that handles TIF concerns and Steve Kline, who works for an economic development group out of Bloomington who was hired by MILLCO Investments to help them put their proposal together for moving the Dollar General Store from downtown Aledo to the old Coast-to-Coast store.

"We might have to think about changing the venue," said Aledo City Clerk Jerod Dale.

MILLCO Investments has put together a TIF application asking for a $235,000 TIF grant on a $1.5 million remodeling project, projected to bring in $1.9 million in retail sales. It plans to move the Dollar General store from its downtown location to the former Coast-to-Coast building on the west side of Aledo.

"Under this TIF I want to see us doing a lot more on forgivable loans over the next 10 years," said Bewley. He pointed to the backside of people's buildings as needing a lot of work. "There's alley work that needs to be addressed."

Other applications the TIF committee is looking at are from Candy Harrison, at the World Wide Gun Report and John and Colleen Nation, from Vitale's.

Pam Myers, a member of the audience at the TIF meeting said, "We need to get those parameters set."

Jerry Hall agreed to let his application ride until the council sets the criteria it will be using for any future TIF funding.

"I want to be fair to everybody," said Mayor elect Hunter.

"But I'll wager to say we won't please everybody," Alderman Maynard said.

Jenny Garner, Economic Development coordinator working with the city of Aledo and Mercer County, said that the city of Aledo's membership in Illinois Tax Increment Association had lapsed. She said she had been in contact with Thomas Henderson, executive director of the association and said they would be happy to consult with Aledo, once membership was reestablished.

City Clerk Jerod Dale said he had already emailed the association to get the membership reestablished.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 13, 2009 issue of The Times Record.