Mayor Emanuel announced a series of TIF reforms today, implemented based on recommendations from the TIF reform task force convened by the Mayor immediately upon taking office.
“These critical reforms will strengthen the transparency and accountability involved in TIF projects, and will help the city focus the program on job creation and economic development,” said Mayor Emanuel.
To promote increased transparency, the City will create a comprehensive online TIF database, which will track all projects in one place and provide public access to performance data and dashboard. For the first time, City staff that manages the TIF program will be able to use this comprehensive data in evaluating and managing TIF projects, and the public will have a better picture of how taxpayer dollars are being spent. Additionally, every proposed private development TIF project will have an assessment report that will be posted online before City Council consideration and will outline the project’s ability to create jobs and provide return on investment for the city.
To enhance accountability, monitoring of TIF performance will be moved to the Department of Revenue, which will hire independent auditors to perform random audits. Additionally, the internal TIF task force, which considers all proposed TIF deals, will be broadened to include the Comptroller, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and infrastructure leads. The restructured TIF Task Force will be charged with ensuring the value of proposed TIF deals for the City at the beginning of the negotiating process.
“I've been sounding the alarm on TIFs for a decade now, and so it's encouraging to see the City's willingness to make transparent what has been a murky system for too long,” said U.S. Representative Mike Quigley. “There is no simple solution to the problems facing TIF programs, but the most important first step is to improve transparency and accountability, which allows for further analysis and action. Chicago taxpayers deserve to get what they pay for, and I applaud Mayor Emanuel and his team for their commitment to this reform.”
Mayor Emanuel announced these reforms at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Wicker Park, the site of Resurrection University’s new nursing center. Resurrection University will relocate from Oak Park to Chicago, bringing 77 jobs and more than 500 students in the burgeoning field of nursing, as a result of TIF assistance it will receive.
“I am laser-focused on creating jobs for Chicagoans, especially in crucial fields such as nursing,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This deal brings 77 jobs to Chicago, and allows hundreds of additional Chicagoans each year to get essential training for great jobs in this important industry. This is a banner day for the City of Chicago as we continue to build the employment environment that we are seeking.”
The relocation will be made possible by TIF assistance, in the amount of approximately $4.7 million. Financing for the project was secured in October of 2011; the entire project cost is over $13 million.
“Moving Resurrection University to the City of Chicago would not have been possible without the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Joe Moreno,” said Sandra Bruce, President and CEO, Resurrection Health Care and Provena Health. “We are excited about the new educational opportunities Resurrection University will bring to the City of Chicago. This move will allow us to train a new generation in healthcare careers from a community that has long been underrepresented. It is critical that our healthcare professionals represent the culture and character of those whom we serve.”
The University has a current enrollment of 275 students, with 50 employees. More than half of the current students are Chicagoans. The University plans to nearly double enrollment to 500 students, and to subsequently increase staffing by 27 employees. The University’s current lease at the Oak Park facility expires in July 2012, and space there is not adequate to accommodate its expansion plans. It intends to move to a new location before the July 2012 lease expiration.
The project involves the renovation of approximately 38,900 square feet of vacant space on five floors of the eleven-story St. Elizabeth Hospital building at 1431 North Claremont Avenue in the West Town community area. The renovation will provide classrooms, a student lounge, cafeteria, conference rooms, offices and an operating room simulator. In addition, an existing parking structure and surface parking lot will be renovated to provide forty-one additional parking spaces. The parking lot renovation will include additional landscaping, lighting, and underground stormwater detention. The property is located in the Humboldt Park Commercial TIF District.
The TIF reforms are effective immediately, and will be implemented over the course of 2012.
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