No TIF accountability in East St. Louis

June 22, 2013 

I am grateful for East St. Louis Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks' rebuff of the repeated attempt by Mayor Alvin Parks to reinstate the all-night clubs and the murders that go with them. I am also grateful to her for bringing to light the fact that none of these lucrative street repair contracts are being bid out and instead given to the same contractor time after time. Moreover, who is ensuring that TIF is in compliance with our city ordinances?

The Tax Increment Finance Commission is supposed to meet monthly pursuant to Section 2-272 of the East St. Louis Code of Ordinances to approve changes to the annual plan required by state law. The Tax Increment Finance Joint Review Board is supposed to meet annually pursuant to Section 2-273, review the statutorily required annual audit, and make binding recommendations. No audits have been done since 2008 yet we have spent nearly $100 million illegally since that time.

My FOIA request for the minutes of these meetings has gone unanswered and I have filed a lawsuit (13-MR-190).

Will Jackson-Hicks have the courage and/or power to also shut down all TIF transactions until the city is in compliance with local and state TIF laws? If not, unfortunately, there will be some good public servants caught up with the bad when we vote them all out with a municipal dissolution ballot referenda in March 2014, after we purge the voter registration records in federal court.

Matt Hawkins

President, Civic Alliance of East St. Louis

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service