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SHELBYVILLE – A little over five years ago, when the Shelbyville City Council first considered a tax increment financing district, it had essentially one goal – to stop the deterioration of buildings in downtown Shelbyville by infusing new businesses and business upgrades into the area.

“We wanted something that would provide a catalyst to spur private investment in the area,” Shelbyville Mayor Jeff Johnson said. “The TIF is one of the tools that has started the momentum.”

TIF district funds are collected from property taxes in designated areas of Shelbyville, most notably in the downtown area and along Illinois 16. The funds are then used as grants for businesses that are improving their facilities located within the TIF district.

Earlier this week, Shelbyville approved its 20th grant since beginning the program, a $25,000 grant to help with renovations for a new ice cream shop/gift store located in an historic bank building downtown.

Council member Brent Fogleman, who serves on the TIF committee that awards the grants, said a high number of applicants has reduced the amount of funds available until the next distribution of property taxes.

“The TIF is running a little bit low,” he said. “We won’t be able to replenish it until August or September.”

Four other businesses also have TIF applications in the process. Shelbyville City Clerk Carrie Jones, who serves as TIF administrator, said already awarded grants ranged in size from $2,000 to $97,500. Grants are allowed for only a portion of renovation budgets, but Johnson said they can sometimes provide the push a business needs to start or expand.

“The momentum of investment in Shelbyville is amazing,” he said. “The fruits of these investments will really start showing in the next few years.”

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