The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Editorials

May 5, 2013

Spend tax dollars in wise ways

DANVILLE — Tax Increment Financing districts — TIFs, for short — allow local government to collect and set aside a portion of property tax revenue to spend on infrastructure and other projects designed to attract development or serve the public.

In many cases, the amount of TIF funds doesn’t add up to much during the short term, so decisions on how and where to spend the money must be made carefully.

In many cases, the decisions don’t take a lot of thought. New streets, water lines or sewers to a site where a company wants to construct a factory makes sense for all involved.

Not every case, however, is so clearly defined. And just because a proposed project falls within a TIF district’s spending guidelines doesn’t always make it a good choice for taxpayers.

Local governments can run the risk of paying for projects that the public perceives as unnecessary and reducing the public’s support when a major project comes along in the future.

A “green” parking lot proposed for Danville High School stands as a recent example. But the $1 million-plus price tag caused more than a few eyebrows to lift.

No one doubts the parking lot will improve appearances on the school’s campus, and students will be able to use the lot of several purposes. But wouldn’t a regular parking lot serve just as well?

Cleaning storm runoff is a worthy goal — but won’t the water flow into storm sewers already filled with “dirty” runoff?

The project meets the guidelines of the TIF district, but is it the best use of those tax dollars — local and state?

As governments continue to deal with financial concerns, the public is looking much more critically at how their tax dollars are being spent. Those in favor of a TIF project should be able to show how their proposal serves the public in the best possible way.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Share the road with care With winter's chill finally -- finally! -- done for the season, the bright green of spring starts to take over lawns and alongside rural roads. All of which means motorists will share those roads with large farm equipment during the coming weeks. Far

    April 23, 2014

  • Help keep planet clean Americans will celebrate Earth Day on Tuesday in a variety of ways, all with a focus to waste less and preserve natural resources and beauty. Vermilion County can count itself among the luckiest of counties in Illinois with its abundance of natural r

    April 20, 2014

  • Put money to better use Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced earlier this week the state would pass along $52 million in federal dollars to pay for various alternative transportation projects, such as bike paths and walking trails. While the money is nice, it could be put to b

    April 16, 2014

  • Make penalty a tough one An old nemisis appears to be making a comeback in Illinois, and legislators and law enforcement officials worry that the influx of heroin will leave an even deadlier wake than before. The situation is bad enough that members of the Illinois House dec

    April 13, 2014

  • A good addition for United Way United Way officials announces earlier this week the addition of a 2-1-1 phone service, which connects people in need with agencies that can offer assistance. The latest addition to the United Way's arsenal of ways to aid residents in Vermilion Count

    April 11, 2014

  • A glimmer of promise An Illinois legislator -- state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Staunton -- finally appears to recognize a growing problem in the state that his fellow lawmakers apparently choose to ignore: Illinois schools face real financial problems. Many school districts hav

    April 10, 2014

  • E-cigarettes: Use caution The latest craze sweeping the area involves an old habit -- smoking -- in a way. And like its well-know toxic predecessor, not much is known about it as it begins to become more commonplace. Electronic cigarettes -- known as E cigarettes -- provide i

    April 6, 2014

  • Gambling plan takes new turn Members of the Illinois Legislature will consider yet another version of a bill to expand gambling in the state. This one also includes a proposal to put a casino in Danville -- kind of. State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, told The Associated Press h

    April 3, 2014

  • Time to start cleaning up As the days grow longer and the temperatures continue to rise -- hopefully -- area residents can begin to put the record-setting snowfall and cold behind them and enjoy spring. The sunny days already have melted away the 50-plus inches of snow that f

    March 28, 2014

  • Great job at NJCAA Mary Miller gym on the campus of Danville Area Community College must still echo with the cheers from last week's National Junior College Athletic Association's Men's Division II Basketball Tournament. Sixteen teams from across the country visited DA

    March 25, 2014