Normally, it's good news for a business owner when the village allocates TIF funds in their favor, but that wasn't the case Tuesday night.
While Homewood officials voted in favor of giving William A. Lau & Co. $13,415 through the Façade and Property Improvement Program, owner William Lau was hoping for a lot more.
Last year, Lau requested $93,425.97 in TIF money for a variety of building maintenance projects. The board was split on the decision, especially out of concern for the low balance in the Southgate TIF fund. Ultimately, the request was denied and it was suggested that Lau go back, "sharpen his pencil," and try to come up with a more reasonable request.
Since then, Lau says he has been investing money—over $10,000—and time into putting together a better TIF application. Now he feels duped.
"… I'm back to square one," Lau said. "If we were told there would be no TIF funds from the get-go, we wouldn't have gone through this exercise."
Community Development Director Paula Wallrich reminded the board that concerns over the low Southgate TIF fund balance were indeed discussed during Lau's application denial one year ago. Still, several trustees empathized with Lau's situation, noting the circumstances to blame for lack of a better offer.
"It's a shame we can't fund everyone that wants money, but that's the reality of it," Trustee Barbara Dawkins said.
"You made good points," Trustee Anne Colton responded. "But if we don't have the money, we need to be responsible. I just don't feel comfortable depleting ourselves to zero."
Trustee Jay Heiferman, however, thinks Lau should be happy with what he received.
"I will not be apologetic about it," Heiferman said. "You're still getting thirteen thousand dollars. The community shouldn't be sorry that there's not enough money."
When the vote came, the board unanimously approved the $13,415 request.