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What is a TIF District?

March 31st, 2010 Comments off

Illinois, as well as other States, allows municipal governments to allocate specific area(s) within the municipality as Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIF).  These TIF districts are designed to support economic growth within the TIF. Sales taxes and property taxes continue to be collected within the TIF district, but these tax revenues are used for improvements specific to the TIF district. These improvements include road repair, new sewers, sidewalks, and other capital improvements. The idea is new economic growth will be encouraged by updating of the TIF district’s infrastructure and increasing the long-term tax revenue of that particular area.

Tax Increment Financing districts are areas chosen from a municipality which are in need of redevelopment from decay or deterioration. Often a community’s deserted downtown area is designated a TIF district in order to support or generate regrowth. This allows the area to be redeveloped, repairing buildings, encouraging businesses to open, etc.

According to the Illinois Tax Increment Association:

“When a TIF redevelopment project area (often called a TIF district) is created, the value of the property in the area is established as the “base” amount. The property taxes paid on this base amount continue to go to the various taxing bodies as they always had, with the amount of this revenue declining only if the base declines (something that the TIF is expected to keep from happening) or the tax rate goes down. It is the growth of the value of the property over the base that generates the tax increment. This increment is collected into a special fund (the Special Tax Increment Allocation Fund) for use by the municipality to make additional investments in the TIF project area. This reinvestment generates additional growth in property value, which results in even more revenue growth for reinvestment.”  From: Illinois Tax Increment Association’s Web site

How does this impact a public library? Over time, the TIF district increases its tax revenue, due to the concentrated improvements and redevelopment, but the library continues to receive property taxes only on the base amount established when the TIF district was created.

Libraries need to know where the area Tax Increment Financing districts are located as they impact the library’ property tax revenue. TIF districts may be the size of a town block, or half the municipality. Additionally, the municipality may establish multiple TIF districts over the years. When a TIF is established, the municipality must inform the taxing bodies which will be impacted, for example the school, community college, and library districts. If the library is a municipal library, it does not need to receive its own notification, as it is considered part of the municipality.

The TIF district(s) are factored into the library’s Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) by the county clerk. This is why the municipality’s EAV might be different from the library’s as time passes. Remember, the library continues to receive property tax revenue from the TIF area, but the sum is factored on the “base” amount of when the TIF was established. Once the TIF district expires the library and other taxing bodies benefit from the increased property values. However, TIF districts do not expire for 20+ years, and they can be extended.

Public libraries (municipal and district) along with other taxing bodies (school, community college, etc), may request TIF funds from the TIF Board of Review. These funds would be used for capital repair or maintenance of the library.  Each TIF district has a review board, so contact your municipality for information on the TIF Board of Review and how to apply for their TIF funding.

Resources for additional information on Tax Increment Financing (TIF):

Workforce Recovery and Libraries

February 5th, 2010 Comments off

During January, I participated in the Libraries and Workforce Recovery webinar, hosted by WebJunction. The hour long session focused on what public libraries are doing to help patrons find employment, to complete online applications, to develop resumes, and to cope in today’s economy. The webinar was inspirational. Libraries of all sizes are working to help their community. For inspiration at your library, listen to the archive of January’s Libraries and Workforce Recovery Webinar

Libraries & Tough Times in the News shares media articles and interviews highlighting how libraries are helping residents find jobs. You will want to share with your boards and mayors reports as you communicate what your library is contributing to the community. The American Library Association has posted Job-seeking in U.S. Public Libraries, another excellent resource about the impact job-seekers have had on libraries.

A recent Longshots podcast, Helping others cope with the challenges of job loss, focuses on building listening skills, learning about physical and emotional boundaries, among other skills. Longshots is a regular podcast from Sarah Long. A companion article is Addressing emotional challenges of patrons and yourself by Diane Shelton. Another podcast resource is from Fairfield Public Library (Connecticut) on various job skills, from resumes to workplace law. Of special interest are the podcasts for using the library’s online databases to help with job searches.

While this has a North Carolina focus, the Job Search Tool Kit by the State Library of North Carolina, is a wonderful starting point for libraries helping patrons. The Tool Kit is perfect for discussion at a staff meeting and linking from the library’s Web site. And it can be updated for your community and region.

Check out some of the programs Forsyth County Public Library (North Carolina) is hosting for area residents; visit their Survive & Thrive blog.

How is your library supporting residents seeking employment and recovery? Have you seen an increase in patrons using library computers for job searches? What programs have you hosted related to job searching?

Changes to FOIA and OMA

December 18th, 2009 Comments off

As you know, changes have been made to the State’s Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts (FOIA and OMA). These changes go into effect 1 January 2010 with a compliance date of 1 July 2010. Please note additional information on these changes can be found on the LCLS Web site for FOIA, the Attorney General’s FOIA Web site, WebJunction Illinois, among other locations.

Open Meetings Act: Each Public Body must designate a person or persons to receive training on the Open Meetings Act, this is new. Those persons must successfully complete training by July 1, 2010 and their names must be submitted to the Public Access Counselor. Those designated people must annually complete the training program and any new person designated to take training must do so within 30 days after designation.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Each public body must designate a Freedom of Information Officer(s), this is not new. However, what is new is, these officers must successfully complete training developed by the Public Access Counselor by July 1, 2010 and successfully repeat training annually. Any new designated Freedom of Information Officer must complete the training in 30 days.

Other changes:

  • The number of days you have to respond to a FOIA request has been reduced from seven (7) to five (5).
  • The fine for non-compliance has increased.
  • The meaning of a public record has changed. Performance Reviews and other documents in the personnel files can be requested. Private/personal information must be redacted from those documents before they are given to a FOIA requester.
  • There is now an Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) office to review denied request and complaints from requestors.
  • There are two instances where the library is required to send information directly to the PAC. The first is when you deny disclosure because it would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The second is when the exemption is for “preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expresses, or policies or actions are formulated.” When this happens you must notify the Requester and the PAC of you intent to deny the request.

Under the changes a library must describe their public body and list the types of documents they hold that can be requested. Examples include: organizational chart, library’s purpose, board minutes, etc. To fulfill this requirement, it is suggested the library modify the Freedom of Information model policy found in the Administrative Ready Reference. The Board adopts this policy and posts it; physically and on the Web site. The documents and record information must be posted at the library and also on the library’s Web site. Please note that it does not matter if you do not operate the site or have only part time staff. If there is a library Web site it MUST be posted.

What you need to do?

  1. Read the FOIA information posted on the System’s Web site, and the attached summary from Attorney General’s FOIA/OMA seminars. Thank you to Kathleen Feher for sharing her summary.
  2. Download the new FOIA model policy, modify it for your library and adopt it at your January Board Meeting.
  3. At the January Board meeting appoint your Freedom of Information Officer(s). You need one but having a person as back up is encouraged so that if one is unavailable when a request is made, the library has time to respond. Also designate your Open Meeting Act officer(s). They can be the same person.
  4. Designated FOIA and OMA officers take and successfully complete the appropriate training. The training should be available on or around 1 January 2010. Notify the PAC once the training is completed.
  5. FOIA officer sets up files and internal procedures for handling FOIA request.

Management Musings

December 11th, 2008 Comments off

I’m always looking for additional ways to enhance my colleagues and my own management skills and tools. When I read about a Developing Great Managers conference, I was intrigued to find out more.

First, though, I’d like to share how I actually discovered that there is such a thing as a management conference. As an American Library Association member, I’m on a few electronic lists of various topics. One of my favorite lists is clenert (continuing library education network and round table). Mary Ross, a CLENERT board member and former manager of staff development at the Seattle Public Library, sent a message to the clernert list about a Webinar on Learning for Learning Professionals. In that message was information about ASTD’s Employee Learning Week (ASTD = American Society for Training & Development). So, I went to the ASTD web site to learn more. While there, I came across several interesting items, but the one that really drew my attention was under Upcoming Events (Developing Great Managers Conference). Once at the Web page for the conference, I decided to view the conference agenda and from there discovered the conference facilitator’s and the two guest speakers’ Web sites. And finally, I felt compelled to share this journey with you so that you could decide if this information is useful to your situation.

Lisa Haneberg is the conference facilitator, she is the author of several management titles, and she has a management blog called Management Craft.

Terry Starbucker has been in the business world for more than 25 years in various leadership positions. He is constantly learning about leadership and is willing to share his ideas, experiences, and knowledge. His Website is pretty interesting.

David Zinger shares himself at Employee Engagement Zingers. He is a leading expert on both employee engagement and strength based leadership. His approach mixes current research with practical approaches in order to achieve results.

While I did not attend the Developing Great Managers conference, I feel that I benefited from it nonetheless. Having discovered the people and their Web sites outlined above, I have new tools to assist me in my continuing quest to be the best that I can be and to help those around me be the best that they can be as well.

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