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updated: 2/15/2017 5:26 PM

Libertyville shares the wealth of downtown district

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The amounts may be a small part of their overall budgets, but tax rebates on the way to 10 local governments covered by a special district in downtown Libertyville can make a difference.

As has been the case for the past several years, the taxing bodies will receive proportionate shares of 70 percent of the total property taxes collected in the village's tax increment financing district. This year, that total is $2.56 million.

Individual rebates amounts range from $17,040 to the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency to $960,116 for Libertyville Elementary District 70. Many of the taxing bodies use the proceeds for day-to-day operations. Others use it for various projects.

"Generally, those funds are something we do budget for and anticipate," said David Archer, director of the Cook Memorial Public Library District. "However, I will say a number of improvements have been made that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to do had it not been for this TIF rebate."

Those have included equipment for digital studios, such as Go Pro cameras for check out; new furniture for a teen area; power outlets for laptop users; and new chairs for computer labs. This year, the money will be used for continued teen space enhancements in the basement of the Cook Park library.

In a TIF district, additional property taxes generated by development are diverted into a special fund to pay for roads, utilities, and other improvements within the district's boundaries. In Libertyville, streetscape and other upgrades have been credited with helping to transform the downtown commercial area.

Libertyville designated its TIF in the 1980s, but received approval from state officials to extend its duration from the typical 23 years to finish projects in the original vision. That included two parking decks, one of which opened a few weeks ago. In exchange for support of the extension, the other local taxing bodies each year receive 70 percent what was collected.

"The TIF is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2021," said Patrice Sutton, the village's finance director. "There are not other projects planned at this time because we took out a $5 million loan to complete the (second) parking deck."

The remaining 30 percent of added property tax generated by the district will be used to pay off that loan.

With its share, District 70 plans to pay loan obligations and then put any remaining money into its capital project fund to help pay the pending expansion of Rockland School, according to Kurt Valentin, assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 will receive the second highest share, at $861,186. It will use the funds to improve cafeteria serving lines and athletic fields at both campuses, said district spokeswoman Mary Todoric.

The village is the third largest rebate recipient with $220,956. The revenue will be used for police, fire, public works and other general fund operations, Sutton said, and is not earmarked for a particular purpose.

@dailyherald.com