If City Council decides to vote on the proposed tax-increment financing (TIF) district in Evanston’s central Fifth Ward, one of the documents it will consider is a proposed intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the city and Evanston Skokie School District 65.

Rather than considering the proposed TIF at their Sept. 20 meeting, Council members yielded to a demand by District 65 officials for an IGA before the district would “support” the TIF.

The district already approved the TIF in June of this year, however, when the Joint Review Board – composed of all representatives of taxing bodies affected by a TIF, which in this case includes both school districts, Cook County, Oakton Community College and the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District – unanimously voted in favor.

In August, the city proposed a resolution that described the purposes for which TIF funds would be spent. Top among these were repairing private homes, implementing workforce development, boosting local businesses and creating affordable housing within the TIF district.

In September, the school district informed the city it did not support the proposed resolution and instead submitted a draft IGA to city officials.

The boundaries of the proposed Fifth Ward TIF are outlined in red on the map above. (City of Evanston map)

City officials rejected some of the provisions in the district’s proposal and modified others.

A proposed IGA on the City Council’s Oct. 25 agenda deals with a Fifth Ward school. Section 4 of that proposed IGA would obligate the school district to “make good faith efforts to pursue the establishment of a school within the TIF District or the Fifth Ward without a referendum to the extent permitted by law.”

This TIF, called the “Five-Fifths TIF,” would be the city’s ninth TIF, four of which remain active.

Other items on the council’s Oct. 25 agenda that relate to the proposed TIF are a resolution that outlines the city’s commitments regarding the TIF and an ordinance approving a Tax Increment Redevelopment Plan and Project for the Five-Fifths Project Area, an ordinance designating the Five-Fifths Redevelopment Project Area Pursuant to the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, an ordinance adopting Tax Increment Allocation Financing for the Five-Fifths Redevelopment Project Area.

The resolution describing the city’s commitments, city staffers say, is the first of its kind in Evanston and possibly in the state.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...

One reply on “Agreement for proposed TIF commits District 65 to make ‘good faith efforts’ for Fifth Ward school”

  1. Wait. I thought the District is losing students and saying it needs to close schools due to budget problems. Why in the world is it saying it is going to build a new school? And why is it going to go behind the backs of the voters and avoid a referendum–which is required to issue bonds to pay for it?

    Very strange.

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