CARTERVILLE — Carterville Community Unit District 5 school board met Monday to discuss a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Cambria regarding a proposed TIF district and possible litigation.

The Village of Cambria first offered to give all taxing bodies 15 percent of the TIF funds. Taxing bodies with an interest in the TIF include Anne West Lindsey Library District, Carterville School District, Williamson County Board, John A. Logan Community College District, Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois and others.

The school board discussed a new proposal in the negotiation process. It would give Carterville School District 15 percent, as well as a 10 percent rebate from one of the developers.

"The main thin to look at is whether 15 percent is in line with [agreements with] other towns within the school district," Kurt Schroeder, the district’s TIF counsel, said. 

Carterville school district first entered a TIF agreement with Crainville for 27.6 percent of the funds. The agreement also has a provision that no residential properties will be included within the TIF boundaries. The board then entered similar agreements with Carterville and Herrin.

"This proposed TIF has a lot of residential property," Schroeder said. "Based on that, the agreement is not in line with what we've done with other municipalities in the district."

The audience was filled with around 50 residents of the school district who oppose creation of the TIF district in Cambria for residential development. One concern they share with the school board is the issue of school funding.

The Cambria TIF district is dual purpose. It will allow tax breaks for both commercial and residential development and includes 95 percent of the village. Property taxes would be abated for a period of 23 years for new residential development, while new development would draw families to the school district.

Home owners outside the TIF in Carterville and Crainville would most likely see property tax increases to help pay the cost of the growing school district.

“We are a tax cap county, so we cannot create a higher tax rate,” Schwartz said. 

Tax limitations (commonly referred to as tax caps) slow the growth of revenues to taxing districts when property values and assessments are increasing faster than the rate of inflation. A taxing body, in this case the school district, can only increase property tax extension to the lesser of 5 percent of the increase in the national Consumer Price Index.

When there is positive growth in the Equalized Assessed Value or EAV, tax rates stay flat or decrease. When the EAV drops, tax rates increase.

“Any property in a TIF goes into an EAV that is flat for 23 years. They show no growth until the TIF expires,” Superintendent Keith Liddell said.

Board Vice President John Yewell gave a recent of example of how property values affect tax rates.

“Whe Circuit City went out of the TIF, we saw a tax decrease. Taxes then increased with the facility sold for one quarter of its value,” Yewel said.

“It would be a misunderstanding to say we don’t want Cambria to grow,” Schwartz said. “We just want to get the same deal that we have with the other municipalities.”

The board then went into executive session to discuss possible litigation. They came out of executive session, approved the minutes of the closed session and adjourned.

“I hope they can just meet somewhere in the middle,” Jennifer Ramirez said.

Carterville Mayor Brad Robinson said he feels like the Cambria TIF district takes away from the one thing generating growth in the area – the school district.

Cambria Village Board will vote on the TIF district proposal at a meeting at 4 p.m. Nov. 9 in the community building gymnasium.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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