At the Valmeyer Village Board meeting last Tuesday, trustees voted to approve a tax levy for the upcoming fiscal year, heard a report about a public use area in the old town and began the process to explore extending the Rock City Tax Increment Finance District.
Valmeyer Village Administrator Dennis Knobloch reported that the Rock City TIF, which was organized in September 2000, would expire in 2023.
TIF districts in Illinois generally have a maximum term of 23-25 years, but can be extended a maximum of 24 additional years as a function of two separate, 12-year renewals.
“We feel the TIF district is beneficial to (Valmeyer). It has helped to spur on the activity that we have in Rock City right now, and in order to keep that activity going, I think extension of the TIF district would help,” Knobloch said.
He also noted that legislative approval would be required to extend the original TIF agreement.
“A state representative or (state) senator would have to get a bill introduced in Springfield” for the TIF to be renewed, Knobloch clarified.
TIF districts encourage development and investment by freezing the taxable value of property within the district at pre-development levels when the TIF is established and then using tax funds as a result in higher property value to fund further improvement in the district.
When the TIF district expires, the municipality and other taxing bodies benefit by having a larger tax base due to increased value of the area within the district.
As part of the renewal, Knobloch said the original agreement could also be amended. Rather than have all funds go back to the TIF district, a portion could be “withheld” and provided to some or all of the taxing districts,” depending on how the revised agreement was structured.
Eligible taxing bodies include Southwestern Illinois College, Valmeyer Fire Department, the Valmeyer library and school, as well as Monroe County and the Village of Valmeyer itself.
Knobloch added the village board “will have a lot of input” regarding the TIF extension as the particulars are developed.
The board approved a contract “not to exceed $12,900” with Edwardsville-based company Moran Economic Development LLC to begin contract work for the TIF extension process.
Knobloch noted the original TIF development contract, also facilitated by Moran, cost $60,000.
Valmeyer Mayor Howard Heavner expressed confidence in Moran, as the company was involved in establishing the Monroe-Randolph Enterprise Zone at a time when the zone “was not a sure thing.”
Howard also noted and Knobloch confirmed that any cost incurred by the village for legal work to renew the TIF would be reimbursable through future TIF funds.
The Rock City TIF includes parts of old town near Borsch Park and the lower entrance of Rock City as well as the Rock City Admiral Parkway Development business complex that houses storage for the National Archives and Records Administration.
In other business, the board voted to approve the tax levy for the village for the upcoming fiscal year.
Total taxes levied was $58,845, an increase of 4.99 percent, which is the maximum allowed before a public hearing is required.
Heavner said the levy is consistent with previous years’ increases to avoid “fall(ing) behind with inflation” and subsequently needing to “have a real big raise in one year.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Vince Siburt gave a report about work on a walking trail and lakes in old Valmeyer.
The area is near where the old school was before being flooded in 1993. An area just north of there is where work to dig new lakes is happening.
Siburt reported an existing lake nearby has been stocked with fish and people have been fishing it recently.
Terry Crossin was on hand to offer use of heavy equipment to help dig out some of the lakes.
Crossin, a Valmeyer resident, works for Hertz Equipment Rental and told the board Hertz would waive the rental fee for the village to use large equipment such as an excavator – provided the village pay for freight expenses to move equipment to and from the site.
Crossin estimated the cost would be $600 for the round trip.
The board voted to approve funds to have the equipment hauled. Work with the large equipment is expected to be completed in January, barring setbacks due to extreme winter weather.
Also at the meeting, Valmeyer Village Manager Dennis Valentine reported that roof repair work at Valmeyer’s emergency service building has been completed.