Fox Ridge TIF critic presses supervisors on development deal

A Dike man who believes that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds have been spent improperly on the Fox Ridge Golf Course and housing development—and has led a one man crusade against the deal for nearly 15 years—aired his grievances with the Grundy County Board of Supervisors on Monday morning, but he was ultimately told that it was a city issue and that the county had no authority to intervene.

           

According to Wayne Paige, a former Dike Planning and Zoning Commission chairman and former mayor, Fox Ridge has received over twice the dollar amount ($5,599,519) in tax abatements and reimbursements as was originally authorized ($2,500,000), and he claimed that the first figure came directly from city hall. At last week’s Dike city council meeting, a payment of $123,950 to the Fox Ridge Development Company received unanimous approval.

 

Paige later told the board that contrary to the stated goals of building the infrastructure (grading, paving, sanitary sewer and storm sewer) for the sprawling development along Highway 20, thousands of dollars had been spent on golf course improvements such as grass seed, which he believed to be unethical and possibly illegal.

           

“I don’t think that either the school or the county should be giving up any of their tax money on this because it’s just way over (the original amount),” Paige said. “I really think rather than paying any more to the developer from tax money, I think he ought to be paying that back… I just don’t think you can use taxpayer money to make improvements on privately owned land, and that’s what’s going on here.”

           

Under any TIF agreement, all of the taxing bodies in the area of the project forego some of their future revenues to help finance it, and Paige questioned whether Grundy County, because it is one of those bodies, has any say in how those dollars are allocated. The developers, however, followed the standard procedures on public hearings, and the city council approved the agreement in 1997. The county cannot attempt to take back its portion of the funds and has no say once a contract with the city is ratified. 

 

Read the full story in this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here.