Cambria moves forward with controversial TIF - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cambria moves forward with controversial TIF

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CAMBRIA -- After weeks of debating a controversial TIF proposal, Cambria leaders voted to approve the measure at a special meeting Thursday night.

"I'm very pleased with the vote today," said Cambria Mayor Steven Gotteschalk.

Cambria Board Member Robin McFarlin agreed.

"I did not come to my decision overnight, I did research, I listened to both sides," McFarlin said. "We are Cambria strong and I'm proud to be from Cambria."

But, that decision did not make everyone happy.

"They need the infrastructure upgrades, they need the housing upgrades, I'm just not sure that this TIF is the right answer," said Cambria resident Jim Manis.

"I really think it was a poor decision," added Carterville resident Ed Smith.

Five board members voted 'yes' and Trustee Zach Cox abstained, due to what Cambria leaders called a "conflict of interest." 

"Because it was brought up that as a contractor, [Cox] could've had a relationship with one of the other contractors," Gotteschalk said. 

Cambria leaders said they offered 15 percent and the contractor offered 10 percent, a total of 25 percent of TIF revenue, to Cartervile schools. The school board refused the deal, partially because some don't believe it's enough to accommodate the extra students the development would bring in.

While many remain unhappy with the decision to move forward, McFarlin believes the TIF will save Cambria.

"I think that if we don't go this route, we're going to lose our village," McFarlin said. 

Meantime, Jim Manis of Cambria, anticipates Carterville School leaders will follow through on their threat to file a lawsuit to stop the TIF.

"I'm sure the county is going to follow in after that and it's going to be a messy situation and that's unfortunate," Manis said.

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