Village of Winfield Wins First Round in
TIF Lawsuit Filed by Winfield School District 34
Lawsuit seeks to block TIF required for Winfield Town Center development
In a ruling delivered on June 14, an Illinois judge rejected one of the key arguments put forth by Winfield School District 34 (SD34) in its lawsuit seeking to prevent the Village of Winfield from establishing Town Center Tax Increment Financing District #2 (TIF #2). DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Bonnie Wheaton granted a partial summary judgment requested by the Village, ruling that state law does not prohibit the Village from establishing a new TIF with land parcels that were in a previously existing TIF.
In October 2021, the Village Board removed some land parcels from a previously existing Town Center TIF #1 and included these parcels in establishing TIF #2. The establishment of TIF #1 in 2004 was a significant step forward for Winfield development, allowing the Village to purchase and consolidate some land parcels, attract and maintain businesses and institute public improvements. TIF #2 seeks to build on TIF #1’s success by securing a new revenue stream for further development in Town Center.
The judgement resolves a substantial portion of the case, which now hinges on SD34’s claim that the area within TIF #2 does not meet certain criteria in the TIF Act. Resolving this remaining issue could drag the lawsuit out for years, costing even more taxpayer dollars from both the Village and SD34. The Village estimates that at least $400,000 has already spent by both sides in legal fees, staff time and other expenses related to SD34’s lawsuit.
“This ruling brings the Village one step closer to resolving SD34’s misguided lawsuit, which unfortunately has already cost Winfield residents dearly,” said Village President Carl Sorgatz. “For the good of our shared community, we hope this development will make the SD34 Board more willing to work with their fellow taxing bodies to find a resolution outside the courtroom. The sooner we can put an end to this lawsuit, the sooner we can grasp a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address Winfield’s pressing economic and public safety needs—without raising property taxes.”
The lawsuit, filed in November 2021, has stymied redevelopment in Winfield Town Center and prevented the Village from constructing a badly needed police department/municipal center to address public safety needs.
TIF #2 is the lynchpin of the Village’s Town Center redevelopment plan, which is based on an agreement negotiated with Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) to deliver approximately $22 million in funding and to serve as a partner in developing extensive commercial projects. To accommodate increased visitors and staff, CDH has constructed a parking deck in the Village that would normally be exempt from property taxes due to CDH’s non-profit status.
However, under Winfield’s agreement, CDH will place the deck on the property tax rolls for a minimum of 20 years. Tax revenue from the parking deck will contribute to the Village’s redevelopment plans through the new TIF #2 District. CDH has not asked for and will not receive any TIF funds.
Additional information about TIF #2 and Winfield Town Center development is available on the Village website at Town-Center-Redevelopment-TIF-2.