SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a measure introduced by State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, fire protection districts will have easier access to tax increment financing (TIF) funding in order to keep up with developing business districts.

“As TIF districts improve the business environment, growth naturally follows,” Holmes said. “This legislation will make it easier for fire protection districts to keep up with firefighting technology so that they can adequately respond to fires in new development areas. For example, if a tall building is built in a TIF district, a fire protection district would have a much easier time getting the funds to purchase a ladder truck.”

The legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts (IAFPD). It would allow fire protection districts to request funds directly from the TIF’s review board instead of the municipality, as long as the purchases are reasonable and necessary to protecting the more advanced infrastructure that TIF districts bring. According to Chuck Vaughn, the legislative representative for the IAFPD, the measure is meant to make the process of purchasing new equipment more responsive to the changing needs of those that they protect.

“Senator Holmes recognized that taxing districts such as fire protection districts often get new responsibilities created by a TIF district,” Vaughn said. “The senator’s bill makes the process more responsive to changes that a TIF district brings to a fire protection district. The IAFPD is extremely grateful for the leadership that Sen. Holmes has put into this project. The end result will be better and more responsive decisions to meet the test that a TIF district will present for fire protection.”

Senate Bill 1415 was approved by the Illinois Senate today. It moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.