Seen as a win-win, the first TIF district in the city of Moline is coming to an end

MOLINE -  Autumn Trails, a retirement center and 34 independent living units first built in 2006 but the 13 acres of land became unique a year earlier.

Ray Forsythe is the City of Moline's Planning & Developmente Director.

"The city agreed to create the TIF district to help with the property put in some of the infrastructure and do the demolition of the orphanage that was on site," said Ray Forsythe, City of Moline Planning & Development Director.

Although the city now has 12 other TIF districts, Autumn Trails is becoming unique again.

For the first time ever, a Moline TIF district is ending, this one actually returning tax dollars to the community a full decade sooner than first expected.

"We didn't need the money, the developer has been paid in full so that money needs to go back to the taxing district," said Forsythe.

That adds up to a lot of money. The value of this property was just over $100,000 when the project was proposed, it's now worth more than $2 million.

The tax money that was re-invested in the TIF district, now returns to other agencies, the biggest winner, Moline Schools.

Sixty cents out of every tax dollar reserved for Autumn Trails now will go to the Moline School District, school districts often lose out the most when TIF districts are created.

"It will help us offset the half-a-million dollars that the state reduced our funding for this year," said Dave McDermott, Moline Schools Chief Financial Officer.

Sixty cents out of every tax dollar reserved for Autumn Trails now will go to the Moline School District, school districts often lose out the most when TIF districts are created.

However, Moline Schools say this development will pay dividends down the road.

"This TIF was a very successful TIF, they took a blighted area turned it around used it for economic development and twelve years later the value increased from $100,000 to $2.2 million," said McDermott.

In fact, Moline expects this property will generate $200,000 a year to be divided among taxing districts in Rock Island County and that's just Autumn Trails.

"We'll start to see them gradually dropping off now because they were put into place in the late 80's, late 90's when the downturn of the farm economy, when incentives were necessary to get projects to move forward," said Forsythe.

The downtown TIF district, the city's largest, is to expire in about three years and the old Moline High School TIF is set to expire in ten years.

"Anytime our local property value increases, it benefits the school districts and taxing bodies," said McDermott.

Moline Schools say they'll invest that money directly back to the classroom, so while it took money from the schools for the past decade, it's seen as a win-win for the long term health of the area.

"It was definitely worth the money for the city because it's new housing opportunities, it was a good example of how TIF districts are supposed to work," said Forsythe.

Moline believes this was both an effort to build better places to live and a better city to live in.