Village protects school from loss
By Chris Johnson
Pecatonica School Board President Steve Gorman put up a fight for the future of the Pecatonica School District as he voiced his concern over the possible development of a TIF District across property the School Board is responsible to oversee.
His statements in front of an above-average showing from community members highlighted an evening of change in the Pecatonica Village Hall.
Gorman expressed his concern over the plans that were in place for the development of a retail outlet on the south side of the school limits. The plan would have meant a Tax Increment Financing District would have been established. Action by the Village Board stopped the talk and assured, for the time being, the School District will still be able to take full advantage of rights accorded to them under State Statute regarding resident property tax requirements.
The TIF District would have established a period of 23 years in which business interests within the scope of the design could reap benefits from the growth enjoyed through re-investment.
Gorman said he knew the proposed TIF District would take money away from the School District.
“I know in order for someone to benefit from something like this TIF District someone will lose. It’s a zero-sum game.”
In support of the School Board President’s comments, District 321 Superintendent Bill Faller expressed his concern of the idea of possibly losing out on one of the greatest benefits the community of Pecatonica has to offer.
“I look at our numbers. Our kids are doing so well. In a recent release on PARCC scores we were ranked number one. We have had a number of our students receive scholarships from prestigious Universities. We are doing something right.”
The measure was voted down by Village Trustees. Heading into the Dec. 20 Village Board Meeting, most Trustees had shown interest in the idea of possible economic growth spurred by the proposed TIF District.
When the votes were cast, the influence accepted by the Village Board allowed the discussion on the development of a new TIF District to be put on hold for the time being.