The city of Evanston shuttled more of its tax revenue through tax-increment financing districts than the vast majority of suburban Cook County municipalities that employed the tool in 2011.
Among the 94 municipalities that had tax-increment financing (TIF) districts in place last year, Evanston brought in more money through its TIF districts than all but six municipalities. Designed to generate money for economic development in a particular area, the tool allows local governments to reinvest all new tax dollars in a certain district for up to 23 years.
TIF districts in Evanston—as is true throughout the county—aren’t performing as well as they have in the past, however. TIF revenue declined by 7.7 percent countywide, from $298 million in 200 to $275 million in 2011, according to the clerk’s office.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said in a press release that the decline is caused by the sagging real estate market, which resulted in lower assessments that in turn decreased the incremental value that could be realized in each TIF district.
Evanston’s TIF districts lost revenue by a significantly greater percentage than the countywide average, according to Orr’s report. Evanston brought in a total of $7,064,127 in TIF revenue in 2011, down 13 percent from 2010, when the city collected some $8,147,899.
A large TIF district in West Evanston saw the biggest decline in revenue, falling from $519,193 in 2010 to $116,307 in 2011, a 77 percent drop. Declines in three other TIF districts ranged between 4 and 12 percent, while revenue increased in the TIF at Howard Street and Ridge Avenue, from $654,937 in 2010 to $675,139 in 2011. (scroll down for chart)
The number of TIF districts has grown since the late 1970s, but growth has leveled off in Chicago and picked up in the suburbs, according to the clerk’s office.
That’s certainly the case in Evanston, where aldermen a new TIF district at the southwest corner of Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue. The proposal calls for $20 million in tax-increment financing over the next 23 years at the shopping center called Evanston Plaza.
Aldermen are also set to discuss at Chicago Avenue and Main Street some time this summer. And in February, the city council authorized another contract with Kane, McKenna to study the downtown commercial area west of the CTA/Metra viaducts and assess its viability as a new or amended TIF district.
EVANSTON'S TIF DISTRICTS, 2011 vs. 2010 REVENUE
Click on the name of each TIF district to see a map of its location.TIF District 2011 Revenue 2010 Revenue Percent Change Howard/Ridge $674,139 $654,937 2.93 West Evanston $116,307 $519,193 -77.6 Howard/Hartrey $1,141,499 $1,212,230 -5.83 Southwest $465,729 $483,551 -3.69 Washington National $4,666,453 $5,277,989 -11.59