Intergovernment agreement OK’d

Both parties have now agreed to an intergovernmental agreement between the city and Vandalia School District on the use of funds in one of the city’s Tax Increment Financing districts.
The Vandalia City Council approved the agreement on Monday, with Aldermen Andy Lester, Mike Hobler, Joel Rebbe, Bret Brosman, Ken Hubler, Russ Stunkel and Steve Barker voting yes and Dorothy Crawford casting a lone dissenting vote.
Then, on Tuesday, the agreement was approved by the Vandalia Board of Education.
The agreement was up for approval after Director of Economic Development Amber Daulbaugh and aldermen Bret Brosman and Steve Barker met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jennifer Garrison and school board members Joe Lawson (president) and Kevin Satterthwaite.
That meeting was scheduled to finalize the document after city and school representatives discussed the agreement during a work session on Jan. 6.
In the agreement, the school district is asking that 50 percent of the “TIF revenue generated by the school district’s tax rate” be given to the district.
The district wants to use those funds to “pay for bond indebtedness of the school district to provide immediate property tax relief during the 12-year term of the (TIF District) extension.”
The city is wanting a 12-year extension to TIF District No. 1, and that extension must be approved by the Illinois General Assembly. State legislators also must allow the school district to use the reimbursed funds for bond indebtedness.
Thus, state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) was one of the parties also involved in drafting the agreement.
To offer his support for that extension, Wilhour has requested such an agreement.
The intergovernmental agreement would kick in with the approval of legislators, which would allow the school district to use 50 percent of its share of TIF monies for property tax relief.
The intergovernmental agreement states that if the General Assembly does not allow the school district to use the TIF funds to pay down its bond debt, “the school district shall submit to the city proposed redevelopment projects for any of its facilities within the (TIF) Redevelopment Project Area.”
The school district’s capital improvement examples listed in the intergovernmental agreement include:
• Acquisition of land to serve the immediate or future needs of children from development.
• Improvement to any existing school site which already serves such needs.
• Development of classrooms; parking lots; sidewalks; traffic signals; internal roadways; connections with water, sewer and electrical lines; playgrounds; and recreational grounds and athletic fields.
• Remodeling or renovation of school facilities.
The school board also on Tuesday approved a list of Best Practices for TIF District No. 1.
That document was approved by the city council in November.
The school district  is the third taxing entity to approve the document, the others are Kaskaskia College and the Fayette County Mosquito Abatement District.
Those who have signed letters of support include Fayette County, Fayette County Hospital District, Evans Public Library District and Vandalia Township.
The document reads:
Whereas, the Taxing Bodies representative of the City of Vandalia Tax Increment Financing #1 District agree that a set of criteria should be followed for the purposes of formal support for the
12-year TIF extension; and
Whereas, said operational principles will be reviewed for effectiveness at the annual TIF Joint
Review Board Meeting; and
Whereas, the operational principles are guidance for the city council to review upon approval of each TIF request granted during the 12-year TIF extension. Said operational principles are as follows:
1. A TIF Advisory Committee will be made up of a member(s) of the taxing bodies, who shall not live within a TIF or be receiving TIF incentives, to review the TIF requests with one city alderman serving on the advisory committee prior to the city council’s approval of a TIF grant.
This committee serves as guidance only but is imperative to build trust that TIF is benefiting Vandalia and its taxpayers.
2. The “but for” provision is applied appropriately to each individual TIF request.
3. Each project has merit to enhance the overall economy by spurring growth through job creation or an increase in equalized assessed evaluation.
4. Projects submitted by taxing bodies requesting financial assistance must be used for such purposes as permitted by the TIF Act.
5. The city shall use its best efforts never to commit more than 25 percent of the total project cost through a TIF grant unless the project brings many jobs or a service or amenity not otherwise available in the city.
6. If there are not viable projects to meet one hundred percent of the revenue collected through the TIF #1 District according to said principles, the remaining revenue will be returned to Fayette County who will distribute to the taxing bodies annually.
Also on Monday:
• The council observed a moment of silence for Maribelle Beckman Alender, a former business owner and the mother of Fayette County Board Chairman Jeff Beckman.
• The council approved an ordinance adding a Class L to its list of liquor classifications.
That license, which has a $1,000 annual fee, allows a craft distiller to manufacture up to 5,000 gallons of spirits annually, sell and store the spirits on the premises.
The new license pertains to the operations of Witness Distillery in the former home of Allen Furniture at the southeast corner of Fourth and Gallatin streets.
After approving the new license class, the council held the first reading of an application for such a license submitted by Witness Distillery owners Rick and Cindy Radliff.
The application will again come before the council at its Feb. 3 meeting.
• The council approved the resignation of police and fire dispatcher Lisa Wagner, with Gottman praising Wagner for her work.
• The council approved the purchase of a dump bed for a public works department truck from Higgs Welding for $12,750.
• The council met with Lee Beckman of Milano and Grunloh Engineers in a work session following the regular meeting to discuss upcoming capitol infrastructure projects, including the street construction, water main relocation and sewer construction related to the upcoming Octochem expansion project and the construction of a new water treatment plant.

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