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Woodstock leaders talk TIF district, homeless population, more at State of the City

Mayor leads annual address Friday

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager.
Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager.

Woodstock leaders touted the benefits of a new tax increment financing district and gave updates on the Old Firehouse Assistance Center and infrastructure improvements at Friday’s State of the City address.

Mayor Brian Sager, City Manager Roscoe Stelford and several City Council members addressed the crowd at the Bull Valley Country Club.

The city has been working with a variety of agencies in McHenry County such as the housing authority, county government and nonprofit Pioneer Center to develop a fixed-site homeless shelter.

Plans were launched after Woodstock residents raised concerns about the homeless population in Woodstock and illegal or disruptive behavior near the Old Firehouse Assistance Center, located by the Square.

Now the Pioneer Center plans to open an assistance center and emergency shelter in McHenry, and it’s expected that the Old Firehouse Assistance Center will relocate its services when the site is functional.

City leaders also touted the benefits a new TIF district would bring to the city.

Municipalities can establish TIF districts in underdeveloped areas to attract new economic development using financial incentives generated by the district.

When a city establishes a TIF district, the property tax base in that area is set for a specified time, typically 23 years.

If property values in the area rise, that added property tax revenue is funneled into an account set aside for redevelopment projects in the area.

Woodstock’s City Council is expected to make a decision on the matter in January.

Sager addressed the planned Route 47 widening project and Nicor infrastructure updates throughout Woodstock.

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to widen Route 47 and put roundabouts in at numerous points along the road.

“We met with the IDOT leadership,” Sager said. “They know Woodstock. They know Route 47 is a priority not just for Woodstock but for McHenry County. We have been assured that once a capital bill is approved, Route 47 in Woodstock is one of the top five priorities.”

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