COLLINSVILLE - The city is mothballing its plan for a tax increment financing district on St. Louis Road, at least for now.
Since April, city staff and the City Council have been working to create a new TIF district along St. Louis Road and Collinsville Road to the Fairmount Park race track.
The plan was to use the TIF fund for infrastructure improvements and as an enticement for businesses to redevelop the area, which the city's community developer, Paul Mann, said was unlikely to see much development without assistance.
But city manager Scott Williams announced Thursday that the staff is discontinuing the project.
"If at some point down the road there's support in the community, we may revisit it," Williams said. "We do want to work with the community."
Residents' responses have been mixed at best. While school leaders initially supported the project, the Unit 10 school board voted Monday not to recommend the project after all.
"Over the last few months, the board spent some time looking into this and closer at the finances of it," said Unit 10 Superintendent Robert Green. "The board made a decision, and under these economic times, it was the right decision."
Green said that with state budget cuts eliminating 11 percent of Unit 10's revenue, they felt it was not a good time to absorb more hits.
"The general consensus was that we're in a time of declining revenue, and (this) could potentially take revenue from us," Green said.
Collinsville's first existing TIF district has an unusual arrangement. In an ordinary TIF, any property tax increase beyond the amount collected at the time the TIF was created remains in the TIF fund alone. In Collinsville's initial TIF, that money is still paid to the school district at 50 percent.
That agreement brings in about $750,000 a year for Unit 10, Green said.
However, subsequent TIF districts and the now-defunct St. Louis Road TIF have been of traditional design, where the schools would not benefit from increased property values within the TIF until its expiration.
"We want to see our community prosper and support development," Green said. "But unfortunately, our assessment was that this wasn't a good deal for us."
The Unit 10 decision would have been registered at the joint review board next month, which includes all the taxing districts that would have been affected. That included both St. Clair and Madison counties, the Collinsville Area Recreation District, Collinsville Township and the Unit 10 school district.
However, the joint review board's vote is advisory only, and the ultimate decision rested with the city council. Mann said there was no vote to table the project, but that it was simply being withdrawn from their consideration.
Williams said his staff will continue to market St. Louis and Collinsville roads to local and national retailers.
"City staff recognizes that that corridor needs some help, and we would like to see it redevelop into a vibrant part of this community," Williams said. "We will revisit all our options to see how best we can make that happen."
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com or 239-2501.