The Woodstock City Council removed several properties from the city’s Tax Increment Financing District April 18 to avoid a conflict of interest for an incoming councilman.
Councilman-elect Jim Prindiville, a landlord, has an ownership interest in buildings which he manages on the Woodstock Square. The properties at 100-108 N. Benton St. sit in the city’s TIF district, so Prindiville would have needed to recuse himself from all council votes regarding the TIF had they remained part of the district.
Illinois law states “no member of the corporate authority involved in the planning or preparation of a redevelopment plan shall have a direct or indirect interest in any property included in the redevelopment area,” according to a document from the city.
Prindiville, who served on the City Council from 2001 to 2005, alerted officials to the issue. He purchased the property on Benton Street after his previous term ended, but he said the city removed other properties he owned or had an interest in when he was first elected. Those properties were never returned to the TIF district, City Manager Roscoe Stelford said, and so did not need to be removed again.
“I was elected to the City Council [in 2001] and we removed some properties. … It was almost automatic at the time,” Prindiville said. “That’s why I asked the question, because it was my assumption that the city attorney would want this done.”
TIF districts freeze tax distributions to local taxing bodies from properties within a designated area for 23 years (although TIFs can be extended for another 12 years). While a TIF is active, any additional tax revenue generated within the area by growth or higher property values goes into a fund to be used for projects within the district.
Prindiville’s properties on Benton Street generate around $3,378 each year in incremental tax revenue for Woodstock’s TIF, according to Paul Christensen, the city’s finance director. That revenue will be redirected to other taxing bodies, Christensen said.
Prindiville was expected to be sworn in May 2.