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Amato: ‘Approval of [TIF] audit is positive step’

December 20, 2018

DeKALB – State’s Attorney Rick Amato said he is “very pleased” the City Council is preparing to allow a forensic audit of tax increment finance funding.

Amato’s comments followed the council’s final meeting of the year, during which it approved three out of four projects to be funded through funds from the expiring TIF 2.

″[The approval of the audit] is a positive step, it’s what our public needs to move forward with any future plans,” Amato said Wednesday, adding that he does not have any position on the projects themselves or council’s choice in the matter.

Interim City Manager Raymond Munch said Wednesday the money which will be declared surplus and distributed out to the taxing bodies at the end of TIF 2 will be a minimum of $5.6 million.

“There may be additional surplus at the end of the TIF, but providing an exact amount is difficult at this point,” Munch said in an email Wednesday.

“The total surplus will depend on an audit and administrative costs, actual project costs, and actual FY19 tax increment received,” added City Attorney Dean Frieders.

The council approved $100,000 to be taken out of TIF 1 and TIF 2 each, to fund their respective audits.

“I think in order for the audit to have the most effect and be cost-effective for our community, it needs to be independent of the city, and that they allow for a true audit to tale place and be able to account for the process,” Amato said, indicating for a second time since his public meeting Monday his desire for the audit to be handled externally, and the auditor be chosen by the State’s Attorney’s Office.

A proposed fourth project, an installation of fiber optics and security cameras in the Central Business District was denied unanimously by council. The proposal would have allocated $150,000 of TIF 2 funds; however, council said the project was a standalone infrastructure project which did not have a measurable return-on-investment in the same way the other projects did.

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