District 65, city officials react to IGA snub in final TIF vote


Daily file illustration by Evelyn Driscoll

The city interprets the IGA’s failure as a reflection of civic processes, while the district feels it has eroded trust between the two bodies.

Ilana Arougheti, Assistant City Editor

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and the city both commented this week on the exclusion of an intergovernmental agreement from the recent passage of a tax increment financing district in the city’s historically Black 5th Ward.

The proposed intergovernmental agreement would have affirmed the city’s plans to prioritize funding projects supporting home ownership, affordable housing and workforce development. It also called for a good-faith effort to establish a school in the 5th Ward TIF district. For more than 50 years, there has been no public neighborhood school in the 5th Ward.

The district wrote the city’s last-minute rejection of the agreement eroded trust and accountability. The district remains concerned, it wrote, that TIF funding will not be used equitably and will have a detrimental effect on area schools without the agreement.

In response, city officials wrote the city shared many of the district’s values surrounding the enactment of the TIF, but it preferred to enforce them in different ways.

The final rejection of the agreement reflects the difficulty of negotiating contracts between government bodies, the city wrote, and the city said it has still demonstrated solidarity with the district’s goals and concerns.

District 65 President Anya Tanyavutti told The Daily it’s customary for city governments to consult taxing bodies when enacting policies that could affect them. The city initially agreed an IGA was the best way forward, she said. But during the process of voting on the TIF, IGA proposals have fallen through twice since the idea was first proposed at a July meeting, she said.

There, district representatives expressed their concerns that the policy would disproportionately impact Black and brown residents, which included district students and families. This is about a shared constituency and responsibility, Tanyavutti said. 

“We expressed that dissatisfaction really on behalf of the most vulnerable communities that we serve, and the impact that the ordinance passing without any kind of enforceable oversight would have on them,” Tanyavutti told The Daily.

According to the statement, the city drafted and adopted a resolution which was included in the proposed TIF. Though not an IGA, the city wrote, the statement committed to similar goals, specifically using funds to invest in historically marginalized groups and locations in the city.

The city of Evanston’s statement on the vote can be found here. District 65’s statement on the IGA vote can be found here.


Olivia Alexander contributed reporting.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @ilana_arougheti

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