Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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County to consider Lincoln TIF district

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[January 23, 2013]  When the Logan County Board met Jan. 15, there were a few discussions about future events to occur in the county and administrative ideas and options learned from the recent annual conference of the United Counties Council of Illinois.

TIF district

The creation of a tax increment financing district in Lincoln was one subject discussed by the board members. Chuck Ruben will represent the county board at a city meeting when city officials discuss the district. Sally Litterly, the Logan County clerk and recorder, will also attend.

Litterly told the board members that the county would not receive any of the resulting tax dollars generated by the TIF district. Only the area that is included in the district would receive any of that money. Any new money generated would be used by the city to improve older buildings in Lincoln.

Ruben brought up the connection between the TIF district and the property tax extension law limit, known as PTELL. "If remodeling does not affect the PTELL, then this won't affect county at all unless there is actual new construction," said Ruben.

The district would stay in operation for 23 years and encompass a large portion of the downtown area beyond just the city square.

"This will be our first TIF district within an enterprise zone," said Litterly.

Asked what impact the district might have on county tax revenue, Litterly said the base value of properties would increase, but during the time the TIF district is in effect, any increase in tax revenues would return to the TIF.

Both Jan Schumacher and Litterly noted that the intended benefit of the TIF would be to improve property values and business in the downtown area, which would lead to a greater benefit and tax revenues in the future. It was also noted that tax revenues for that area are in a state of decline currently.

Board member Kevin Bateman said: "Even if the county doesn't see a dime, something's got to be done about the downtown area, so I'm willing to give up whatever revenue we're looking at to vitalize downtown."

United Counties Council of Illinois conference

Ruben told the other board members that he recently attended a conference of the UCCI, and he found it to be very educational. Ruben also said that he learned the county board has a little more control over budgets for personnel, materials and services, and equipment than was previously thought.

While the board can manage such funds in the various organizations that report to the county, Ruben believes there is really no need to change from how the money is handled currently.

"In my own opinion, I still think, unless we would see a problem developing, I think it's better to let the individual offices manage their money as best they see fit," said Ruben.

He also said it might be worth voting on such issues as budget amendments in the future. "It comes up so rarely," he added.

Schumacher said she was also at the conference, and she believes that the board will be able to use the information learned at the conference to make revisiting board policies easier in the future. Schumacher cited another example of what other counties are doing in which a new personnel manual would be easier to create by working with elected officials to make sure everyone is satisfied with the result, rather than just dictated by the board members.

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Items voted on that night included:

  • The appointment of Bills Sahs and Roger Bock to the Logan County Board of Health.

  • The appointment of Julie Parker as animal control administrator warden, with Maurice Tierney as assistant animal control warden.

  • A budget amendment of $33,500 for salary of the solid-waste administrator.

  • A second budget amendment to change the total revenue in the communications equipment replacement fund to $16,607 and the fund balance to $35,310.

  • A change in broker-dealer for the deferred compensation plan to LPL Financial.

  • A resolution to submit to the voters a referendum to increase the property tax extension limitation for ambulance services.

After the board voted to pass the last resolution, Steve Siltman made a quick comment to the board. He wanted to correct some figures he had mentioned at the board of whole meeting the previous Thursday.

Siltman said the number of calls for 2012 in which the caller did not want to go to the hospital was 620, not 1,000. The total call volume for 2012 was 4,200.

"I know that really didn't have any bearing on this quorum tonight. I just wanted to make sure that everybody understood that I didn't mean to give erroneous information," said Siltman.

Meeting times and dates

Because of the holidays in February, the finance committee will meet on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. The insurance committee will meet on Feb. 13 at 5:30. The board will meet Feb. 20.

Board members present for the meeting were Robert Farmer, chairman; David Hepler, vice chairman; Andy Anderson; Kevin Bateman; Pat O'Neill; Gene Rohlfs; Chuck Ruben; Terry Carlton; and Jan Schumacher. Guests included Jonathan Wright, Logan County state's attorney; Blair Hoerbert; Steve Siltman; and Sally Gosda.


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