Acting as a mediator — and perhaps hoping to get the Chicago Bears to return their focus to redeveloping the vacant Arlington Park racetrack — Arlington Heights village officials on Monday unveiled their proposed settlement of a long-running property tax dispute between the NFL franchise and three school districts in the region.

The deal would have the Bears pay $6.3 million in property taxes for the 2023 tax year, $3.6 million for 2024 and negotiate annual increases of 3% to 10% over the following three years based on market conditions , Village Manager said Randy Recklaus during a village board meeting Monday evening.

Under a decision by the Cook County Board of Review late last month, the Bears would have to pay nearly $9 million in taxes in 2023, Recklaus said.

In comparison: him presented numbers It shows that the 2021 tax bill was $8.8 million at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, $6.1 million at the United Center in Chicago and $2.7 million at Wrigley Field.

The last year the track operated in 2021, then-owner Churchill Downs paid $3 million. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s reassessment – which was ultimately lowered by the audit committee – would have imposed a $16 million tax liability on the Bears.

“This is just a suggestion we have made to the Chicago Bears and school districts, and we encourage both parties to continue discussions on this issue and provide additional alternative solutions to these issues,” Recklaus said. “We believe this proposal is fair and reasonable, but the village cannot unilaterally impose this solution – the Bears and the counties must agree.”

Arlington Heights Village Manager Randy Recklaus, pictured at Arlington Park in 2021, announced a proposed property tax settlement Monday that would reduce the amount of taxes the Chicago Bears would have to pay on the former racetrack property they now own.
Daily Herald file photo, 2021

The village’s proposal is based on a property value of $124.7 million – the same value used by the review board. But for 2023, the site would be assessed at 25% of fair market value — the usual commercial standard in Cook County — for half the year and a vacancy rate of 10% for the other half.

Recklaus said he didn’t believe the review board adequately considered the property’s status: an unlicensed racetrack facility with no ability to generate revenue and in various stages of demolition.

In 2024, village officials propose valuing the property at 10% since it is vacant.

Village records published Monday in the Daily Herald show that on Feb. 27, just days after the review board’s decision, Recklaus pitched to the Bears, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 and Palatine Township Elementary District 15.

The village manager’s public statement about the closed-door discussions comes a week after the Bears announced they had shifted their focus for the site of a new domed stadium from the 326-acre Arlington Park site to the parking lot at Arlington Park’s south side Soldier Field.

Recklaus reiterated Monday that he had spoken with Bears officials who confirmed that their interest in the Arlington Park site as a potential stadium site “has not changed,” although they are currently organizationally focused on locations in Chicago.

He has requested a meeting with Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren, District 214 Superintendent Scott Rowe, District 211 Superintendent Lisa Small and District 15 Superintendent Laurie Heinz about the proposed tax arrangement of the village, but said they had not officially responded to the offer. He added that he had spoken to officials from both sides since the offer was made; Discussions about a proposed memorandum of understanding have been ongoing for months.

Scott Rowe, superintendent of Northwest Suburban High School District 214, from left, Laurie Heinz, superintendent of Palatine Township Elementary District 15, and Lisa Small, superintendent of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, pictured meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board in February, are in negotiations with Chicago Bears and Arlington Heights officials over a memorandum of understanding to resolve a months-long property tax dispute.
Paul Valade/[email protected]

“By resolving this final (property tax) issue, we believe we can complete our discussion of the broader issues in the (memorandum) and bring them into the public domain for discussion sooner rather than later and then move forward with the thorough investigation.” The redevelopment of the site including traffic and economic studies,” said Recklaus.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *