City proposes same property-tax rate as last year

Local News

The City of Rock Island proposes to keep its property tax rate the same for 2021 as it was in 2020. This means that a property with an assessed market valuation of $100,000 will pay the same City of Rock Island property tax that a home with a similar valuation did last year, says a news release from the city.

The city seeks an increase of 6.56%, or $888,390, in the total tax levy. That increase is largely because of the expiration of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, the release says.

Money that has been going into the Downtown TIF district for the last 37 years is now coming into the various taxing bodies, including the City of Rock Island.

What is Tax Increment Financing?

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a tool state lawmakers gave local governments in the 1980s to help communities restore their most run-down areas or jump-start economically sluggish parts of town, according to the City of Rock Island website.

With this tool, financially strapped municipalities can make the improvements they need, like new roads or new sewers, and provide incentives to attract businesses or to help existing businesses expand without tapping into general funds or raising taxes, the website says.

TIF allows municipalities to accept some of the responsibility without raising local property taxes.

TIFs help local governments attract private development and new businesses. Without TIF benefits, a deteriorating area will not improve. Businesses do not sink capital into decaying areas and most communities cannot afford the needed costly improvements without raising taxes, the website says. But in a TIF district, dollars for improvements are generated by businesses — new and old — attracted by the TIF benefits.

Specifically, money for infrastructure improvements and other incentives comes from the growth in property tax revenues — the tax increment.

Upcoming dates for residents of Rock Island to keep in mind as the city finalizes its calendar year 2022 budget:

  • Monday: City Council will conduct budget reviews with city departments.
  • Nov. 22: Public hearing on the Truth in Taxation notice.
  • Dec. 13: Public hearing on the budget ordinance and property tax levy.
  • Dec. 20: City Council adopts the budget ordinance, property tax levy ordinance, and property tax abatement resolutions.

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