Quincy Park Board doesn’t support German Village TIF; Troup says study by St. Louis firm will continue

The proposed TIF district for the German Village area encompasses 14 square blocks and approximately 125 private parcels in the Eighth and State area. | Photo courtesy of City of Quincy

QUINCY — The Quincy Park District Board of Commissioners’ lack of support for the proposed German Village Tax Increment Finance District doesn’t help the cause, but it doesn’t mean the project won’t happen.

The city administration has proposed the establishment of the TIF district for the German Village area, which encompasses 14 square blocks and approximately 125 private parcels in the Eighth and State area. The proposed boundary has an approximate equalized assessed value of $4.2 million.

The Quincy City Council voted 9-4 on July 3 to approve spending up to $40,000 with PGAV Planners, LLC, from St. Louis to determine an eligibility and redevelopment plan for the TIF district in the State and Eighth/Calftown/Dick Brothers Brewery area.

Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning for the city, said PGAV Planners will help establish the boundaries and eligibility criteria for the TIF district, as well as a plan for redevelopment. 

And Illinois law requires review by the major overlapping local taxing bodies and a public hearing on the redevelopment plan prior to TIF designation.

Six taxing districts — the City of Quincy, Adams County, John Wood Community College, Quincy School District 172, Quincy Township and the Quincy Park District — will have one representative on the TIF Review Board. It will review the work by PGAV Planners before making a recommendation to the Quincy City Council about approving the TIF.

“When we sent that (proposal to PGAV) to take a look at it, all the taxing bodies were in agreement,” Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said after the Monday, Aug. 14 City Council meeting.

However, the Quincy Park Board reviewed the proposed TIF district during its Aug. 10 retreat, and President Jarid Jones said the seven-member group was not in favor of it. A formal vote, however, was not taken.

“We just kind of decided that was going to be our current stance,” he said. “We’re not getting into too many things too deeply right now, because the study has not concluded yet. There’s still some time for more information and further discussion.

“Anything’s possible, just because I’m kind of a pessimistic optimist. I don’t want to trap myself in any corner. We should always consider any thoughts around this study in general. As a business owner, I believe in what a TIF can do, especially for where it’s currently located. I also think that if (aldermen) are considering removing one (TIF district) to add another, that gets a little scary. As the president of the Park District, good information could potentially change our stance and would always be considered, but our current standpoint is that we would not support it.”

Asked Monday about Jones’ comments following the Park Board retreat, Troup said, “I don’t know what was changing that or driving that. I’ve got to talk to (Jones). I don’t know much about it except for what I read.”

Alderman Mike Rein (R-5) was one of four aldermen who didn’t vote in favor of paying for the study with PGAV Planners. He wished the entire City Council knew the Park Board’s stance when it voted in July.

“I’m going to call (the Park Board commissioners) all up and congratulate them for doing the right thing,” Rein said this week. “I can tell you there’s probably at least two, maybe three (aldermen who) would have changed their vote. What we were told was that all the other taxing bodies had been contacted, and they were all in support.

“I’m not saying the south side (of Quincy) doesn’t need help. I agree that TIFs can provide certain incentives and can fix blighted areas. We’ve got two (TIFs) going on right now, and two ought to be the max. Let’s close down the old one before we start the third one. Then we’ll still have two, and that’s fine.”

Troup said the study by PGAV Planners will continue.

“The bigger issue is what they come back with,” the mayor said. “They may come up and say it doesn’t work. We’ve got to do that first.”

The equalized assessed value of the property in a designated area is set at a base amount In a TIF district. Property taxes collected on properties in the TIF district at the time of its designation continue to be distributed to the school districts and all other affected taxing districts in the same manner as if the district did not exist. A tax increment is the difference between the amount of property tax revenue generated before TIF district designation and the amount of property tax revenue generated after TIF designation.

Bevelheimer explained that TIF districts are used for redevelopment, not new construction. He used the project at Eighth and Jersey as an example.

A $7.5 million plan to build 34 two-story residential townhomes and a community building was approved by the Quincy City Council on March 15. Bevelheimer said HW Ventures LLC, a corporation owned by Quincyans Justin Wollbrink and Jerry Holtschlag, approached the city about using TIF dollars to assist with their plans.

“They said, ‘Hey, we’re building these brand new condominiums, but we’re not really interested in connecting them to 100-year-old-plus waterlines. What can you do?’” Bevelheimer said.  “With a TIF, you can use public money to support private development — but not for new construction. In this case, our help that incentivized developers to go forward was putting in new water and sewer lines. 

“We also did the new streetlights, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. It was all public infrastructure, which is an eligible item under the TIF. We spent something like $525,000, and that incentive package was enough to make the difference for (HW Ventures LLC) to say, ‘OK, we’re gonna do this project.’”

Bevelheimer said the city’s first two TIF districts also met early resistance.

“We’re at the very beginning phase of trying to figure stuff out,” he said.

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