City, county willing to pay hefty price for progress
METROPOLIS, Ill.---The City of Metropolis, Illinois wants to set up a system to attract new development and help pay for infrastructure to support it. While this won't change how much you pay in taxes, it does affect the important agencies on the receiving end such as schools, county government, and the road department.
It's called 'Tax Increment Financing' or TIF.
The city wants to establish a TIF district where the money generated from property tax increases based on property improvements is reinvested within that district.
But the city wants to do their part now in order to attract businesses and improve the area. They're prepared to use their own money up front and use money later generated in the TIF district to pay the city back.
For decades, intent eyes stared at the silver screen at El Capitan in Metropolis.
That was the 1950's now nothing's left of the old drive-in, besides this vacant lot.
"There's a lot of undeveloped property right through that section," Mayor Billy McDaniel said.
But that could change because eyes are fixed upon this site again.
"They plan to get started immediately and be completed in about a year," McDaniel said.
Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel said developers want to build a 5 million dollar ambulatory surgery center right here. But it takes money to build the support infrastructure like water, sewer, roads, and entrances. and McDaniel wants this spot to be as attractive as possible. that's why he wants the TIF, a tool that would be in place for 23 years.
Taxes raised would go back to the TIF district instead of cash strapped Massac County, where Jerel Childers is a commissioner.
"It kind of hurts the county at first but after it's all said and done the county come out just fine," Childer said.
Childers, who watched movies here as a kid tries to think big picture.
"I think you have to look beyond tomorrow," Childers said.
And even though the county would miss out on tax revenue, he too thinks the TIF tool will pay off.
He would love to watch it work before his very eyes, just like he watched all those movies years ago.
It's not up to the county or any of the other taxing bodies, it's ultimately up to the city.
They've done this before. They set up TIF districts for Harrah's Casino and riverfront redevelopment projects.
The city attorney says the money can be used for other things. In fact the developer can apply for grants to be used for specific parts of the private project. All of this is regulated by state law.
The city attorney also tells us the newly proposed district could generate 70 to 80 thousand dollars in tax revenue.