Finance & Economic Development

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The division attorneys provide legal assistance in areas involving improving public infrastructure, revitalizing blighted areas through economic development initiatives, providing affordable housing, and creating and retaining jobs for City residents.

Among the goals of the Finance Division are improving public infrastructure, revitalizing blighted areas through economic development initiatives, providing affordable housing, and creating and retaining jobs for City residents. 

Attorneys in the Finance Division work closely with various City departments including, the Departments of Finance, Housing and Planning, to issue bonds, structure and provide loans and provide grants for projects involving construction of public improvements, acquisition of capital equipment, rehabilitation of vacant and blighted buildings, construction of affordable housing and expansion of industrial and commercial business. They serve as issuer’s counsel on all City bond deals; represent the City in its economic development initiatives relating to tax increment financing areas and projects, special service areas and enterprise zones; handle the legal aspects of various loan and grant programs and initiatives; review all grants; prepare intergovernmental agreements; and work with the Departments of Finance and Transportation in regulating telecommunications and district cooling operations in the City’s public ways. Attorneys in the Finance Division typically spend their workdays: drafting, reviewing and negotiating documents, and City Council ordinances related thereto; reviewing due diligence submissions and preparing for closings; handling closings; counseling clients; attending meetings with clients; and attending City Council committee meetings.

Improving Public Infrastructure

Finance attorneys work closely with the City’s Department of Finance, especially the Comptroller and the Chief Financial Officer, serving as issuer’s counsel for the issuance of general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, industrial development bonds, and tax increment bonds and notes. The proceeds of these long- and short-term debt obligations are used by many of the City’s departments for projects such as street and bridge repair and replacement, water and sewer capital improvements, and funding economic development in the City’s neighborhoods.

Revitalizing Blighted Areas with Projects that Create Job Growth

Chicago’s role as the nation’s most sophisticated user of the tax increment financing (TIF) tool requires Finance attorneys to coordinate many contractual, regulatory and policy matters with the City’s Department of Housing and Economic Development and other City departments. This work gets distilled into complex redevelopment agreements that are negotiated with developers and others within the context of the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. The financial objectives of these agreements are as varied as the face of the City itself, and include: City support for the expansion of industry on formerly tainted land, for the rehabilitation of small business heating and cooling systems, for the construction of shopping centers in under-served neighborhoods, for construction of new affordable housing, and for job training of employees by existing City businesses. These efforts assist in the maintaining and creating of jobs and expanding the City’s tax base. Finance attorneys also facilitate the ordinances, annual reports and other documentation required by such Act to create, maintain and publicly disclose information about the City’s many TIF areas. 

Providing Affordable Housing for City Residents

Finance attorneys work to ensure that the numerous forms of grants, loans, bond financings and tax credits that are available to the City’s Departments of Housing and Planning are properly documented and administered in order to construct new affordable housing on formerly vacant land or to rehabilitate the large amount of deteriorated multi- and single-family housing stock within the City. These tasks involve close coordination with building owners, other governmental lenders, private equity sources, guarantors, insurers and other City departments to negotiate a thicket of federal, state and local housing development laws and regulations. Increasingly, the City’s housing development initiatives include loans, bond issuances and grants for the construction of new neighborhoods on long-blighted Chicago Housing Authority land.

Other Matters

  • Reviewing all proposed federal and state grants to the City;
  • Negotiating all finance-related agreements with the City’s “sister agencies” such as the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Public Schools;
  • Counseling on all grants made by City departments to other persons or entities;
  • Handling specialized telecommunications and district cooling matters for the City’s  Departments of Finance and Transportation;
  • Creating and financing special service areas (SSAs) within the City;
  • Implementing other tax incentive vehicles and programs such as enterprise zones established under state law and those available under the Cook County Real Property Assessment Classification Ordinance;  
  • Assisting the City Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s offices with municipal depository and investment agreement matters;
  • Working with outside counsel and assisting with long term concessions of City assets.
  • Preparing of many ordinances for submission to and action by the City Council to authorize/approve various actions and documents involving the City.

Supporting Information Facts

Additional Information

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