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Walkin' On TIF Sunshine

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Feb 14, 2009 6:20PM

Ald. Flores (left) and Ald. Waguespack (right)
The public has always been in the dark, it seems, about TIFs, the way they are used to pay for city improvement projects and the beneficiaries. Therefore we’re thrilled to hear about a new “TIF Sunshine” ordinance being proposed in the City Council. Wicker Park Aldermen Manny Flores (1st) and Scott Waguespack (32nd) submitted an ordinance - now backed by 22 council members including senior Alderman Bernard Stone (50th) - that would force city government to post all TIF documents, from weekly payroll filings to annual reports, on a city-funded website. The pair argued that the benefits of the service, in terms of time and transparency, far outweigh the small costs of the endeavor. Check out the ordinance here [PDF].

According to the Reader's Mike Dumke:

To access TIF records currently, Waguespack said, aldermen, affected businesses, and other members of the public have to dig through hundreds of pages of council journals or send in Freedom of Information requests. He argued that there's no excuse for making the information more accessible. “The technology clearly exists,” he said. “This shouldn’t be an issue.”

Flores, 37, is the city’s youngest alderman, and sits on the City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development. He says the increased transparency could save the city from another Republic Windows and Doors fiasco - the city lost $9.5 million in TIF benefits when the company abandoned the city in December - while bringing the city closer to a digitized future.

Post by Kate Gardiner