Barrington's 2013 Operating Budget Sparks TIF Controversy
Opponents of the Hough/Main project say they would rather see residential space instead of office in the new development.
Village of Barrington officials presented its 2013 budget before the Board of Trustees and members of the public during a public hearing Monday.
As in years past, the budget presented was balanced and conservative, given the current economic times.
Jason Hayden, Barrington’s director of community and financial services, took the podium to present the budget. In similar fashion to the Nov. 19 Town Hall Meeting, some controversy erupted over the tax increment financing (TIF) District, specifically the new Hough/Main development project.
Mike Kozel, Barrington resident and Board of Trustees candidate in the 2013 election, said the plan, which calls for retail and office space, doesn’t meet the needs of today’s market. Running-mate Jim Magnanenzi said Barrington’s office space is at a 30 percent vacancy rate, and more office space just isn’t needed in this town. The pair, along with JoAnn Fletcher who is also running for village trustee, say residential space would be more appropriate and needed in Barrington.
Village President Karen Darch said the developer created a plan the current market will support, and plans will only move forward if a certain percentage of units are leased before construction begins.
The village used TIF District funds to purchase $10 million of land for the Hough/Main project. Village officials say the Evanston-based developer will invest an additional $10 to $12 million building 50,000 square feet of mixed-use retail and office space on the property. The village plans to lease 35 percent of the land to the developer for $1 per year for 99 years. After five years, the village as the option to sell that land if they desire. The remaining portion of the purchased land will be used as public parking.
Kozel and Magnanenzi also criticize the village's ability to pay off what they call $23,000,000 in TIF District expenditures.
Hayden spoke of the financial side of the project, saying 68 percent of the village’s total debt, including TIF District debts, will be retired in 10 years, and 100 percent will be retired in 17 years.
As for the rest of the 2013 village budget, Hayden estimates total projected revenue will be $27.4 million. Revenue will decline slightly due to a decrease in grant money in the Capital Improvement Fund.
From that revenue, $21.1 million will be spent on operating expenditures, $3 million on debt services expenditures, and $3.3 on capital improvements.
Some of the major improvements happening in the village in 2013 include the engineering for the Route 14 grade separation project funded by a TIGER II grant, annual road projects, and the Main Street water main project.