Five Chicago aldermen want to surplus funds from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district located in their wards and use the money to help "alleviate the budget crisis" at the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.
Alds. Joe Moreno (1st), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) made that request in a September 9 letter to Chicago Budget Director Alexandra Holt.
At issue is the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF district, which spans the aldermen's five wards.
"As a minor stop-gap measure to alleviate the ongoing budget crisis at CPS, we would like to surplus funds from the TIF district," the aldermen wrote in their letter.
The aldermen asked Holt to help them surplus funds from the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF district, requesting that the surplus "include the City's 20 percent share to CPS, bringing CPS' total share of the surplus to over 70 percent."
There is potential to surplus a total of $6.4 million from the TIF district in fiscal years 2017 through 2019, according to the aldermen. Of that amount, CPS could receive more than $4.5 million over the three-year period, the aldermen said.
The aldermen arrived at their TIF surplus figures based on a TIF district balance sheet they received from Holt's office on July 18.
"We understand that the July 18, 2016 balance may not reflect projects that are in the early stages of development -- like the proposed John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza -- and we would like to work with your office to adjust our proposed TIF surplus accordingly," the letter reads.
The letter comes as a citywide TIF surplus ordinance, called the Chicago Public Education Revitalization Ordinance, has stalled in the City Council's Finance Committee.
"We continue to support legislation that will codify TIF surplus and move a significant amount of TIF money to our Chicago Public Schools; and we recognize that the bulk of any TIF surplus to benefit CPS must come from those TIF districts found in our central business district," the five aldermen wrote in their letter.
"We are committed to surplusing funds from the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF district, in the manner described above, because our neighborhood schools desperately need funding," they added.