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Morris City Council welcomes public involvement

Published: Monday, May 5, 2014 9:19 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Morris taxpayers are encouraged to stay involved in the tax increment finance district creation process.

The Morris City Council passed two ordinances Monday evening that welcomed public involvement by setting the public hearing date for a proposed TIF district and creating an interested parties registry.

Interested parties would include those who do not live in the proposed TIF district but would like to stay informed about its progress. They would also retain the right to attend TIF review board meetings, Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said before Monday’s meeting.

“If you live over on the west side of town, but you still want to know what’s going on with the TIF, you can sign up to be an interested party,” Kopczick said. “You will receive any mailings that go out about the TIF.”

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen at their current level. The city’s current TIF district’s property values are frozen at the value they were assessed in 1986, when the first district was created.

Tax money generated from the difference between the frozen value and current value of those properties goes into a special TIF fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

Legally, a TIF district is allowed a life span of 23 years, unless it receives an extension. After an extension, Morris’s current TIF district is set to expire in 2021, so the city is looking to create a brand new district that will last for 23 more years.

The district will be located on the east side of Morris and include a large part of the existing district.

It will also include the new marina where Morris Riverplace II is developing the marina properties, and the barge-loading facility slated to be built by Archer Daniel Midland.

A proposed timeline created by city officials shows July 7 as the earliest the city could approve all of the final ordinances needed to create the second TIF.

Keeping with that timeline, the council approved to hold the public hearing at 6 p.m. June 23 inside the Morris City Council chambers. Kopczick said that date can be amended, if the city is unable to hold the hearing at that time.

Other business

The council approved a recommendation to have Bill Crawford complete the city’s annual audit. Crawford has prepared Morris’s audit for more than 15 years, Kopczick said.

Morris residents Steve and LeAnn Leadinghouse had their request for a one-foot height variance approved by City Council. With the variance, the Leadinghouses can build a five-foot-tall fence at their home located at 1441 Scott Circle.

If you go

What: Public hearing for TIF district creation

When: June 23

Where: Morris City Council chambers

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