The Board of Directors of Central Street Neighbors Association (CSNA) cannot at this time support the proposed ninth tax increment financing district for Evanston, sometimes called the “Five-Fifths TIF.” Too many concerns and questions have been unsatisfactorily addressed, including:

  • The TIF district’s budget turns on tripling the area’s assessed value, but current 5th Ward residents desire not to be driven out of their homes, and there has been no housing impact study
  • The TIF area excludes most 5th Ward residents who need help staying in their homes
  • The TIF district inappropriately includes more public property, university property and already-developed property than any previous Evanston TIF district
  • Strategies such as selling the Morton Civic Center run directly counter to public sentiment as expressed strongly in referenda

We agree with one community advocate who wrote, “the council is pushing this too hard and too fast without completing the necessary work to ensure success.” We also are disturbed by the lack of detail about how the money will be spent.

Earlier this year, after years of unhappiness at City decision-making processes, a new mayor and four new Council members were elected on platforms of increased transparency and citizen involvement. In a first major decision, we seem to be headed in the opposite direction and toward an increase in the tax burden without clarity as to goals, methods and impacts.

Jeff Smith
Central Street Neighbors Association

One reply on “The TIF needs more time”

  1. I’m glad for Jeff Smith’s assessment. The TIFs were meant to help blighted areas, this not falling into that category. The “Civic Lab,” originally set up by Tom Tresser in Chicago, offers study programs on TIFs, a city where TIFs have run rampant in 49 of their 50 wards. The excluded ward incorporates O’Hare Intl.?

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