Farmer City tax-increment move could cost Blue Ridge $200,000

BELLFLOWER — The school district could lose about $200,000 annually in property taxes if the Farmer City Council extends its tax increment financing district.

"I was really upset when I found out about this," Blue Ridge Superintendent Susan Wilson told board members this week, noting she only found out about the TIF change in a recent conversation with the Dewitt County clerk.

"It puts us in a very difficult situation. I'm more than displeased," added Bart Lytel, school board president, noting it could mean a tax increase for the entire school district.

School board member Justin Otto was assigned to represent the board at Monday's city council meeting to protest the change in the TIF. The school district is requesting the city consider reimbursing or compensating the district for capital costs "in an amount commensurate to that which the school district is losing to the the recent extension of TIF 1," according to a letter being sent to the council and signed by all six board members.

The city council decided to renew the TIF agreement, leaving the school district without funds it planned to use to pay bonds used for life-safety work.

"We were not notified," Wilson said, noting although the city isn't obligated to make the notification, she was at several functions with city leaders and the subject never arose. "This will directly affect our bonding and interest rate," she added.

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