TIF and County Assessor Reform
Lowers Property Taxes
Dear Neighbor,

Tuesday, I stood on your behalf with a broad cross section of reform-minded colleagues, neighborhood groups, community members not-for-profit organizations demanding real oversight before handing over a billion taxpayer dollars the developers of Lincoln Yards The Cortland/ Chicago River TIF, if passed in City Council, would be the largest in the history of Chicago.

Serious questions remain- how will money be collected and spent; what public benefit will be created; and have the 300 properties in the TIF district been fairly assessed . For example, the former Chicago Fleet Management Site, purchased by Sterling Bay for $105 million, today has a zero value as determined by former Assessor Berrios. According to the Chicago Sun-Times , Berrios or the Board of Review reduced the estimated value on at least 7 other Sterling Bay properties, including " the centerpiece of this development, the former site Finkl Steel ," this slashed taxes 28% and saved Sterling Bay $328,272 in property taxes in 2017.

Lowered assessments cost all of us by reducing the "base value" of the TIF. That means taking more money from the public and giving more right back to the developers . A zero valuation of Fleet Management site sends every penny of future taxes on a re-developed property to the developer and not the city for the next 23 years. That puts pressure on our residential property taxes.
Let's See the Assessments

The 300 parcels in the Lincoln Yards development should be reviewed before a monumental TIF is created.
To start the process, Alderman Scott Waguespack and I filed a Freedom of Information Act to see if there is a pattern of unfair and out of line assessments on the properties within the TIF District.
And at the same time, our new Assessor Fritz Kaegi, is advocating for needed change in his office. He has stated that low assessments of downtown and other large commercial properties shift the burden to residents and small business owners. Assessor Kaegi introduced legislation in Springfield seeking more information on larger commercial properties. This will close the loophole allowing commercial property owners, including some in our ward, to get tax breaks on vacant storefronts.
As expected, the proposal passed the Community Development Commission on Tuesday. You can read my full remarks at the Commission  here . With your unflagging support, we have made tremendous progress. Change is sweeping City Council and the Assessor's Office.
As this issue moves toward a City Council vote, more reform-minded colleagues are joining our effort for transparency and oversight. This fight is far from over. 
For more coverage:
Community Events
Lincoln Park Cooperative Nursery "Free Day of Play"
Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 9: 00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce Weekend Guide

Looking for something to do this weekend? Click here for a guide on happening's around the town from February 21-24th.

CPS Five Year Plan - Parent Input Survey

CPS is engaging a number of stakeholders to help shape its five-year vision, including students, parents, teachers, principals, central office staff, funders, partners, and higher education. Your feedback is a critical component of this process. 

Please consider taking the survey here. It should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and your answers are anonymous.
Lincoln Park Library
1150 W. Fullerton Avenue

Early Voting is fast and convenient - and there are no long lines.


  • Monday, February 18th - Friday, February 22nd: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
  • Saturday, February 23rd: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 24th: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Monday, February 25th: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 


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See you in the neighborhood, and remember to vote.


Michele Smith
43rd Ward Alderman
43rd Ward Office Hours: M 9 AM - 7 PM, T - F 9 AM - 6 PM 
  2523 N Halsted  |  773-348-9500 yourvoice@ward43.org www.ward43.org
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