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October 22, 2014, 9:58 pm
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The Council Roundup

The Council Roundup, Wednesdays at 10 with Bishop On Air


970 WMAY News

TIF Process Frustrates Developers and Aldermen

The city has more than doubled the amount of Tax Increment Finance funds they are offering Downtown Property LLC to help fix some safety issues with the facade of the PNC bank building just north of the Old State Capitol, but it’s still not enough. For some aldermen, the ordinance also sheds light on the process of TIF requests making their way through the city council.


Mayor Mike Houston’s administration first denied the request from Downtown Property LLC, but after continued persistence from the developer and several aldermen, the city offered $417,000.


During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Houston amended the ordinance to increase the offer up to $1 million. Houston says given the current financial status of the TIF, which is running a deficit with the number of proposed and promised projects, the new offer is suitable.


Alderman Cahnman amended the ordinance to make it $1.25 million. Robert Egizi with Downtown Property LLC said last week they would need upwards to $1.6 million.


Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner said the past month-and-a-half dealing with the requests from Downtown Property LLC has been very eye opening.


The corner of 6th and Monroe
The corner of 6th and Monroe

She voted in favor of the $1.25 million for Downtown Property LLC but said she will not vote on any other TIF requests until there is as open a discussion as there was with the PNC bank building project.


Another project in the downtown area will get over $1.6 million to refurbish two century-old buildings for mixed commercial and residential units with two ordinances passed by aldermen.


Mayor Houston held a press conference earlier this month announcing the $1.6 million proposal for developer Rick Lawrence, something Turner says showed her vote was inconsequential.


Houston started the Central Area TIF back in 1981 when he was mayor of Springfield the first time. The Central Area TIF expires in 2016.

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