Meeting recap: With most aldermen a no-show, City Council's first meeting of 2023 is a no-go

Alderman Marshun Tolbert (2nd), Alderman Tracy Key (4th), Alderman Dominique Randle-El (5th), and Alderman Tyrone Rogers (6th) were absent from the meeting, where the Council was to discuss several development-related items.

Public officials chat and proceed to exit City Council chambers, as shown January 9, 2023. HWH / Amethyst J. Davis
Public officials chat and proceed to exit City Council chambers, as shown January 9, 2023. HWH / Amethyst J. Davis

Meeting date

January 9, 2023

Roll Call

Mayor Chris Clark: Present

Alderwoman Shirley Drewinski (1st): Present

Alderman Marshun Tolbert (2nd): Absent

Alderwoman Telanee Smith (3rd): Present

Alderman Tracy Key (4th): Absent

Alderman Dominique Randle-El (5th): Absent

Alderman Tyrone Rogers (6th): Absent

The big picture

Development items went unaddressed early this month after several aldermen were absent from the first Council meeting of the year.

Harvey City Council didn’t commence for its January 9 meeting due to lack of quorum.

Quorum is the minimum number of elected officials who are required to be present for that public body to do official business. Harvey City Council must have four people present.

Notable presentations

Support for tax increment funding

The council was set to vote on a resolution declaring support of tax increment funding, or TIFs. While not actionable, its a symbolic gesture showcases the city’s commitment to leveraging the tool, which can be used to capture property taxes from new development and redirect revenue to community needs. TIFs have a term life of 23 years but can be extended up to 35.

“The City urges the Illinois General Assembly and Governor to protect TIF in its current form as a valuable economic development tool without additional restrictions on municipal governments and the communities they serve,” reads the resolution.

If approved, a copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the Illinois Municipal League, a government lobbying organization which advocates for municipalities statewide.

For context: This move comes as the Cook County Clerk’s office released its yearly TIF report. TIF districts brought in $1.6 billion in revenue in 2021, those in or around downtown Chicago accounting for nearly half of that revenue, according to Illinois Answers Project. IPA also reported that south suburban TIF districts collected less revenue in 2021 than in 2020.

In 2021, Harvey collected nearly $2.8 million in TIF district revenue. That’s down 22% from 2020, when Harvey’s six TIF districts generated roughly $3.4 million in revenue. Under reformer Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, middle-class property owners are seeing relief as commercial entities, particularly in affluent communities, are shouldering more of the county tax burden.

But this also means that TIF districts in disinvested communities are capturing lower property tax revenue, partly explaining the decline. The steepest decline in revenue came from the Dixie Highway corridor—71%.

City Council formally terminated the Cresco Business Park TIF last September, set to expire in 2023.

Private re development of a single family home

The Council was slated to consider an amendment to a previously approved redevelopment agreement (No. 3005) concerning a home at 147th Street and Main Street, near Thornton.

The resolution suggests that the home’s deterioration is severe such that it can’t be preserved. In the event that the Council and developer Bahay Kubo both agree, two alternatives can be pursued.

In that case, Bahay Kubo would renovate a single family home on 152nd Street and Paulina Avenue, located at 15237 Paulina Avenue. The other would be located a few blocks away, located at 15223 Loomis Avenue.

For context: In June 2022, Harvey City Council approved the developer to rehabilitate a single-family home located at 14719 Main Street, with the possibility of renovating a second home based on the project’s outcome.

American Bottling Company seeks renewal of tax designation

The pop bottle giant, a subsidiary of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, is currently designed Class 6b. That tax incentive, which helps spur new development and rehabilitation of industrial properties, also helps lower a property owner’s tax bill.

According to data from the county assessor, ABC paid $145,000 in 2021. The bottle maker and distributor would pay as much as 2.5 times that amount in property taxes without the renewal.

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