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D-428 comprise on misspent TIF money tabled by Joint Review Board until October

The Joint Review Board on Friday decided to table a proposal laid out by DeKalb School District 428 to comprise with the city instead of suing the government over tax increment finance money it said the district lost out on after the city used the money for other purposes.

DeKalb city manager Bill Nicklas at the end of the meeting suggested that the board come back at its next meeting, October 30, with a proposal they had all worked on.

“We’re satisfied with waiting,” said Cynthia Carpenter, director of business and finance with the school district. “It gives all the different boards time to look at what everybody needs. Obviously we’re pretty busy right now too with planning for the fall. I think overall it’s good because it gives us time to look at what a fair agreement for everybody would look like.”

District 428’s lawyer, Gino Galluzzo, said Tuesday he’d reviewed the completed forensic audit of the city of DeKalb’s TIF spending and recommends the city pay back what it owes to the taxing bodies using the tax increment finance district known as TIF 3.

The audit, released May 28, reviewed the city’s TIF spending since 2008 and shows the city used $7.9 million in TIF funds to offset salary costs. The audit also showed the city lacks consistent and complete record-keeping for TIF spending, and was including sales tax revenue in the TIF surplus to grow the increment, which auditors say needs clarification as to whether that complies with Illinois’ TIF Act.

“It concerns me that there is this smirch on the city of DeKalb,” Nicklas said at the meeting Friday. “A lot of things are pointing up for the city of DeKalb. But we have a history we’re still reckoning with and I want us to reckon with it.”

Galluzzo said his biggest concern was making sure there was more oversight to make sure another issue does not occur.

DeKalb Park District executive director Amy Doll, the temporary chairperson of the board, said she would prefer reports prepared by the city for review. She said the review board takes time away from other aspects of participants’ jobs, such as with District 428’s focus on its fall re-entry plan.

Galluzzo – who back in 2018 discovered the city had misspent $11.2 million in TIF money which should have been surplussed to the taxing bodies – said if the audit had gone back further to 2000, auditors would have seen the amount incorrectly surplussed to the city of DeKalb itself and the state was actually owed to the taxing bodies.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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