A recent discussion of tax increment financing spending in Belleville stressed the need for accountability, and that's essential given all the millions of dollars the city collects and dispenses through TIFs.
Alderwoman Lillian Schneider is right, the city needs to be just as good at tracking how TIF money is spent as it is at passing it out. The city also needs to ensure that businesses are holding up their end of the bargain on the number of jobs created and, if applicable, sales generated.
Mayor Mark Eckert seemed defensive about the questions and concerns being raised. The point isn't to try to play "gotcha" as he suggested, but rather to ensure there's a system in place that prevents such moments.
It's not enough for city officials to say they have a good handle on TIF spending. They need a system that makes records available and easily accessible to the public to prove it.