Setting the rules

Having had ongoing discussions on improving the guidelines for the city’s Tax Increment Financing program, Vandalia aldermen will now vote on what they hope does just that.
During a work session on Monday night, aldermen reviewed guidelines that City Administrator LaTisha Paslay drew up after meeting with a TIF consultant and looking at state statutes.
Through the TIF program, new tax dollars created by improvements to properties within the city’s two TIF districts going into the city’s TIF funds.
Developers can apply for TIF assistance to improve blighted areas, and TIF funds can also be used to help other local taxing entities, as has been done for improvements to Vandalia Community High School and the Vandalia Swimming Pool.
Points that were discussed during the work session were:
• Requiring at least two bids for all aspects of a TIF project.
• Including for each TIF project a written report from the city’s building official both before and after the project completion.
• Not allowing a building or property owner to receive reimbursement for any labor performed on their own building or for receipts from a business of which they have a financial interest.
• No TIF funds are given upfront for any project. Once a project is completed, the applicant submits all receipts for review and reimbursement.
• Non-profits other than other taxing entities can apply for TIF assistance.
Alderman Dorothy Crawford voiced her opposition to one of the points in the guidelines.
“I don’t like the thing about excluding property owners from getting paid for work on their own buildings … at all,” Crawford said.
While it has been done with TIF projects, Paslay and Mayor Rick Gottman told Crawford that they have learned that that is not allowed under state statutes.
Paslay explained that all TIF funds received in a year are to be used in that year. Funds that have not been given out for TIF projects are used to pay future installments on multi-year agreements.

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