Taxing bodies voice disapproval with Cambria TIF proposal - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Taxing bodies voice disapproval with Cambria TIF proposal

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CAMBRIA -- Representatives from four taxing bodies - the Carterville school district, the Williamson County board, John A. Logan College and the Anne West Lindsey District Library - all voiced their disapproval of Cambria's TIF proposal.

The representatives said Friday they feel village leaders didn't do enough research on the TIF and it's impact on the various taxing bodies.

"Number one, the tax base for the school district and other taxing bodies will not be enhanced. Number two, there's insufficient data in the redevelopment plan to support the findings that the redevelopment project area qualifies as a conservation of blighted or conservation areas," Carterville High School Principal Keith Liddell said.

Liddell also said developers have already started work on projects in the TIF proposal and he argued they don't need the added incentive to finish.

Williamson County Commissioner Brent Gentry also opposed the TIF proposal.

"Each year, we're getting more and more hit by the state with less money coming in and we totally oppose this," Gentry said.

The representatives also had issues with the size of the TIF and the fact it's all residential.

Cambria's TIF attorney Nick Nelson said even though there was overwhelming disapproval, the vote Friday was purely symbolic.

"They just have to vote to approve whether or not they feel the TIF qualifies as blighted under the act," Nelson said. "They're also voting whether or not the village has complied with the statutory process."

Even with the vote of disapproval, Cambria president Steve Gottschalk said the board still plans to vote Thursday. He said the TIF is necessary to rebuild the village's aging infrastructure.

"We applied for grants with the state and we were turned down so it basically left us floundering with an aging infrastructure that we could not repair with our own funds," Gottschalk said. "We had no money to do it."

Gottschalk said without the TIF, there's no way they'll see the kind of development the village needs.

"TIF is one of the backbones to reward the contractors for coming into a blighted community and taking a chance on us," Gottschalk said.

And Gottschalk believes enough people will move in to justify the gamble.

One of Cambria's board members, Zack Cox, has promised to recuse himself due to a conflict of interest. He told News 3 earlier this week that he's been discussing work with a sub-contractor on a project in one the pre-development deals.

That means four out of the remaining five board members have to vote in favor of the proposal, otherwise it will fail.

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