By Nona Tepper
Forest Park's tax-increment financing (TIF) districts generated $2.2 million in revenue in 2018, up from $1.84 million a year earlier, according to the annual report on Chicago area TIFs produced by Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough's office.
"As a taxpayer and property owner, as well as an elected official who has to answer to the people of Cook County, I want to know where my tax dollars are going, if I live in a TIF District, and how this affects the distribution of tax revenue," Yarbrough said in a statement. "I am committed to ensuring that all Cook County's taxpayers, be they Chicago or suburban property owners, have the information and tools available to see where TIFs are and how much revenue they generate."
Following creation of a TIF district, the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of the property is frozen for taxing bodies whose boundaries include the district. Any property tax revenue generated by the increased EAV goes into the TIF fund to be spent on improvements in the district, generally infrastructure.
TIF revenue accounts for approximately 4 percent of property tax billed in the suburbs and, on average, there are three TIFs per municipality, according to the clerk's report.
There are currently three TIFs in Forest Park: at Brown Street Station and Harlem Avenue; down the Roosevelt Road Corridor; and at Roosevelt Road and Hannah Avenue.
In 2018, the Roosevelt Road and Hannah Avenue was the most lucrative—the TIF holds $12.6 million in funds, and generated $1.05 million in 2018, up 22 percent from the year before.
The Roosevelt Road TIF experienced the most growth year over year, increasing its revenue 46 percent to $1.2 million.
The Brown Street Station and Harlem Avenue was the only TIF with declining revenue year over year, with funds generated declining 2 percent year over year to $545,111.
Total TIF revenue for Cook County reached $1.2 billion in 2018, up 17.4 percent from $1 billion in 2017. In the suburbs, TIF revenue decreased 1.6 percent year over year to $338,675,818. The clerk attributed the decline to slight EAV decreases in the suburbs this year.