Over the past few weeks you have all been copied on the correspondence between my office and the City of DeKalb.1 The reason that we decided to opine in this matter was because of our concern over the use of public funds and the affect the alleged actions would have on the varying taxing districts and their citizens. As you no doubt realize, our office has taken the position that a forensic audit should be completed in regard to the City of DeKalb’s usage of TIF funds, which may not have been permissible under the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act (“TIF Act”).
In the last few days, the City of DeKalb has further antagonized the situation by tabling (or
postponing) their Chapter 37—”Tax Increment Financing Regulations” addition to the City
Code, under the auspice of working together with taxing districts. Concurrently, the City has increased the previously sought $2,870,000.00 in expedited TIF expenditures to now total around $5,622,841.00. This new amount is what the City plans to earmark on December 18, 2018—so as to specifically “use it or lose it” and prevent the taxing districts from receiving surplus payments from the TIF funds. Many citizens of this County are, and should be, disturbed by the fact that the City finds and loses millions of dollars in each discussion they hold on TIFs and their budget. This is why I felt the audit was necessary—yet the City has thus far refused to submit to an audit and instead, has determined that it will spend over $5 million in a near panicked rush to send the “right message to [their] taxing partners.”2 The message has been received.
My office has been very clear in its hope that the subject funds be frozen and that the Joint
Review Board (JRB) be convened officially by the City with the task of determining whether
they will seek a forensic audit. While we made this request knowing that it was new ground
in TIF monitoring, we sought to help the tax paying public to understand what was occurring. Though the City has expressed that it wanted to meet with the State’s Attorney’s Office, it has systematically done everything it can to oppose the audit or suspension in TIF spending that we encouraged. It has also failed to facilitate a meeting with the JRB taxing bodies. This acts to further disenfranchise citizens concerned with the events that have unfolded.
As such, this office is requesting that all of the JRB member taxing districts attend a meeting on December 17, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. so that the current issues may be discussed publicly and the City of DeKalb can, if they choose, inform us whether they will be agreeing to an audit, and whether they will in fact be continuing forward with their plans to utilize the TIF funds as they have stated. This meeting will be held at the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building, 2500 Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb, IL. Members of the press and public are encouraged to attend.
No individual can unilaterally resolve the civil implications of recent events for all of the
taxing districts. Instead, this is a situation that the taxpayers and their government bodies
should seek to collectively resolve. It is my concern that the citizens of each affected taxing
district are not being properly considered in the events that continue to unfold. That said, I
still have hope that the City and the taxing districts can work together to determine the
resolution of this matter. In short, I am asking for this meeting so that a collaborative solution can be achieved.
I look forward to seeing and hearing from representatives of the taxing districts at the meeting on December 17th.
Very truly yours,
DeKalb County State’s Attorney
DeKalb County, Illinois
1 See correspondence dated November 13, 2018, December 4, 2018 and December 6, 2018. www.dekalbcounty.org
2 The City Council’s November 26, 2018 and December 10, 2018 discussions on these issues can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxQihp5xs5Q and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xZc7XhEymY.