January 2022
Incentive Approved to Aid Sale of Multiple Hunter Buildings
An agreement has been approved by the DeKalb City Council to aid the sale of three Hunter-owned apartment complexes and improve the quality of life for the tenants.

The Council voted unanimously Dec. 2 to provide a $1 million incentive to Clear Investment Group, which is under contract to purchase the Hunter Ridgebrook, Hunter Tri-Frat and Lincoln Tower apartment buildings. While the incentive agreement is tied to the acquisition and renovation of Hunter Ridgebrook, the investment firm is planning renovations and security upgrades at all three properties.

Mayor Cohen Barnes (shown in photo above) said the benefit of new management and improvements for the buildings – which see a disproportionately high number of police, fire and code responses – will benefit the whole community, including the officers responding to calls, NIU students living in the Greek Row area and the families living in the buildings.

“All those kids that attend the DeKalb School District, when you think about what life is like for some of them living in these properties over the weekend, getting ready to go to school, coming home from school, and with this transaction, we can affect 406 units and a ton of families,” said Barnes. “Those kids now can live in a safe place in our community and have an experience that so many of us have.”

Clear Investment Group owner Amy Rubenstein told the Council her company is not looking to displace the current tenants. She says their tenants need to agree that they want to live in a safe place that is clean and sanitary.

“These properties are not a place for crime nor is DeKalb,” said Rubenstein. “It’s not going to be something that’s tolerated or accepted.”

The incentive will come from the City’s General Fund reserves, which are projected to be at $15.6 millions after the incentive. That reserve amount is 42 percent of the City’s estimated Fiscal Year 2021 expenses, which is above City policy calling for reserves of 25 percent of annual expenses.

City Manager Bill Nicklas says the incentive amount represents $1 million in recouped opportunity costs from fewer police, fire and code calls to the three complexes.

“We’ve got $1 million worth of pain that we’re counting on not having,” said Nicklas. “A big piece of that is the security measures that have been agreed to in principle in this agreement.”

The measures for Hunter Ridgebrook include installation of security cameras that can be accessed by police, annual inspections of common areas by the City to check code compliance, and the ability for the Police Department to issue no-trespass warnings to those on the property unlawfully.
In This Issue
2021 DeKalb Year in Review

Balanced Budget, Lower City Property Taxes Approved

DeKalb Airport Creates $22 Million in Economic Impact

Christmas Tree Collection Set

Self Storage Facility Proposed

DeKalb Fire Honors Citizens for Saving Lives

DPD Reminds of Seasonal Parking Restrictions

Trash Squirrels Recognized
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Heroes & Helpers
The DeKalb Police Department’s Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and DeKalb Target Store held the Heroes & Helpers (Shop with a Cop) event last month. During the event, the children are the heroes and the police officers are their helpers. Each child is partnered with a DeKalb Police officer and chose gifts for themselves and members of their family. All children participating in the event are DeKalb residents or students of DeKalb School District 428. Children participating in the event are nominated by the school district or another local agency. This program is funded completely by donations. This is one of our favorite events of the year!
Facebook Photo Gallery
More photos from Heroes and Helpers can be seen here on the DeKalb Police Department Facebook page.
Year in Review
Here's a look at some City highlights from 2021.
Balanced Budget, Lower City Property Taxes Approved
After approving a balanced budget that lowers City property taxes, the DeKalb City Council plans to work with other taxing bodies to encourage more property tax relief.

The tax levy given final approval on Dec. 13 will reduce the City’s tax rate by an estimated 9 percent, which will result in an out-of-pocket savings for property owners. The levy also includes a pass-through amount for the DeKalb Public Library, and after discussions with City officials, the DeKalb Library Board agreed to collect $25,000 less in taxes than initially requested.

Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Verbic wants to see conversations on tax savings continue.

“How do we collectively get that done without impacting our quality of services?” said Verbic. “I think that these conversations with our governing partners will be very valuable for that effort.”

The lower levies are possible because of the end of TIF District One and economic development achievements, including the opening of the Ferrara Candy Company facilities (shown in photo above). Mayor Cohen Barnes said the City could become more competitive and see additional projects if taxes were reduced further.

“What that’s going to do is spur more economic development, that’s going to spur more money for more services that we can provide, and we’re going to do that while all along making it more affordable to live here,” said Barnes. “I’m really looking forward to working with the City Manager next year and our other taxing bodies.”

The Council Monday also approved the City budget for Fiscal Year 2022. The budget is balanced in all 32 funds, and it is expected the General Fund reserves will increase by more than $2.2 million.

Because of the growing tax base, the City will also be able to add three additional employees in the Police Department and eight more in the Fire Department to enhance services while addressing an increasing call volume.
DeKalb Airport Creates $22 Million in Economic Impact
A new statewide study shows DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport is an economic engine in DeKalb County that produced $22 million in economic impact in 2019.

The Illinois Aviation Impact Study completed by the Illinois Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division was done to provide a comprehensive assessment on the role and benefits of Illinois’ airports.

DeKalb Airport’s $22 million impact in 2019 came from two areas: on-airport activity and visitor spending. 

The study found that activities happening at the airport, such as operations, spending by airport tenants and construction had a $15.6 million economic impact. Another $6.4 million came from out-of-state visitors bringing new money into the economy through spending on lodging, retail, restaurants, entertainment, and local transportation.

Airport Manager Renee Riani said the numbers show the economic impact to DeKalb County goes far beyond airport fuel sales.

“DeKalb Airport is a vital component in the National Air Transportation Network. Corporations and businesses capitalize on the convenience of our safe, well-equipped airfield for their corporate or chartered aircraft to utilize when they need to connect with clients or vendors. When their aircraft land at DeKalb, the City and region benefit from car rentals or car services and gasoline sales. They often arrange overnight accommodations in local hotels and purchase food at eating establishments or groceries. Monies are also spent in myriad retail stores and entertainment venues,” said Riani. “Beyond those direct impacts is the potential for increased growth in the region as passengers meet face-to-face within agricultural, collegiate, retail, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, healthcare or numerous other areas of business.”

Part of the economic impact is jobs. DeKalb Airport supported the creation of 148 jobs earning $6.5 million in 2019, according to the study. Along with airport-related jobs, Riani said the airport helps attract new businesses to DeKalb County.

“When companies such as Target Corporation, Facebook and Culver’s sought to establish new facilities, DeKalb Airport helped to solidify their decision to locate in DeKalb over a region without such sound infrastructure,” said Riani. “With a newly resurfaced northeast-southwest 7,026’ long and 100’ wide runway that offers a precision instrument approach for times of inclement weather, corporate pilots are confident in accomplishing safe take-offs and landings. Our ability to accommodate their flight departments’ operational safety requirements makes DeKalb Airport a prime destination in the region and will continue to be a factor in attracting future development.”

DeKalb Airport also supports aviation-related businesses. The airport’s overall economic impact includes $9.7 million in value added by these businesses through factors such as labor compensation and taxes.

Statewide, the study found that the 85 public-use airports analyzed in Illinois had a total economic impact of $95.5 billion and supported 492,768 jobs earning $32.5 billion in income.

Data sources for the study included I-DOT, the FAA and surveys of airport managers, tenants and visitors. The study used data collected for Calendar Year 2019. For that reason, the study largely does not incorporate any impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information on the Illinois Aviation Impact Study can be found here.
The Illinois Aviation Impact Study found DeKalb Airport had a $22 million economic impact in 2019. The graphic also shows the flights into and out of the airport in the same year.
Visit the City's Employment Page to view and apply for open positions. For more info, contact Human Resources at 815-748-2398. 
Human Resources Openings
The City is current accepting applications for the following positions:

• Building Inspector II – Plumbing: Initial review of applications will begin Monday, January 10, 2022. Position will remain open until filled.
• Transit Manager: Initial review of applications will begin Monday, January 17, 2022. Position will remain open until filled.
• Transit Planning & Grants Coordinator: Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Position will remain open until filled. 

Please click here to review the full list of job openings and to submit an on-line application.
Christmas Tree Collection Set
LRS will provide a special collection of Christmas trees for the first two weeks in January.

• Flocked trees, trees with shiners, tinsel, light bulbs, glitter, wire, or plastic or in plastic bags will not be included in this special collection and are considered a large item.

• Lightbulbs should be completely removed from live trees and artificial trees when possible and recycled at County events.

Questions regarding holiday refuse or recycling may be directed to LRS at (815) 770-7550.
Quick Links
Self Storage Facility Proposed
A self-storage facility is proposed on the east end of DeKalb.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 20 voted to recommend approval of a special use permit for the facility, which would be built on the northeast corner of East Lincoln Highway and Clive Drive and have 169 exterior-access storage units. The property is currently vacant.

The Commission also recommended making self-storage facilities with exterior unit access a special use in the Light Commercial and General Commercial zoning districts. The proposed facility is in a General Commercial District, which currently does not allow self-storage facilities with exterior unit access as either a permitted or special use.

The zoning text amendment and the special use permit request will be consider by the City Council at their meeting on Jan. 10.
DeKalb Fire Honors Citizens for Saving Lives
The DeKalb Fire Department on Dec. 16 honored citizens who, by using CPR and an AED, saved two peoples’ lives in November.

DeKalb Fire Fighters Local 1236 also announced they will be starting a $5,000 matching funds grant to help restaurants, social clubs and other places of gathering purchase Automated External Defibrillators. Learn more about the grant program here.
Acting Fire Chief Mike Thomas presents a Commendation for Resuscitation Award to Melissa Ruel, who administered life-saving CPR to a man who collapsed at a business. Phil Vorhess, who was unable to attend the ceremony, was also recognized for administering CPR to the man.
Jessica Odom, Katie Leonard, Cindy Thompson, Ron Thompson and Marsha White stand with Acting Fire Mike Thomas as they receive the Commendation for Resuscitation Award. The group administered CPR and applied an AED device to a man who collapsed at the DeKalb Moose Lodge.
Facebook Video

A video of the citizen recognition ceremony can be viewed here on the DeKalb Fire Department Facebook page.
Receive important notifications from the City by signing up for ALERT DeKalb. Text, email, and phone messages are used to alert the public to emergency situations, severe weather, and traffic disruptions.

Users can also text ALERTDEKALB to 67283 to report criminal or suspicious activity and quality of life concerns.
Facebook Video

Watch the first annual DeKalb Friends and Family Christmas Pay-It-Forward Program here on the DeKalb Police Facebook page. With $2,500 in donations from department staff, friends, and family, Chief David Byrd was able to help 25 local families on Dec. 23. Thank you to those who donated this year to help make the holidays brighter for our citizens.
DPD Reminds of Seasonal Parking Restrictions
There are a handful of ordinances that designate seasonal parking restrictions that residents should be aware of this winter. Residents are encouraged to refer to Chapter 51 of the municipal code for additional details.

For residents who park on a designated snow route, all vehicles must be removed from the street during or after a snowfall in which there is an accumulation of 2 inches of snow or more or. This prohibition remains in effect until such time as the street or alley has been plowed or the snow has been removed therefrom. Vehicles in violation are subject to a $75 fine.

All streets designated as a snow route are marked with a sign and can be found in the Municipal Code under Chapter 51, Schedule I. Residents and visitors to these areas are encouraged to sign up for Alert DeKalb as notices of snow emergency routes are sent when there has been an accumulation of 2 inches of snow or more.

For all other streets in the City, within 48 hours after the deactivation of the Snow Routes, any vehicle parked on any public street within the City, or parked in any City parking lot, shall be moved from its parking space to another lawful parking location that has already been snowplowed. For the period starting at 48 hours after deactivation of the Snow Routes and ending at 96 hours after deactivation of the Snow Routes, it shall be unlawful to park on any public street or any City parking lot in a parking spot that has not been cleared of snow. It is also unlawful for any person to allow a vehicle to remain parked for more than 72 hours following snowfalls that accumulate more than 6 inches of snow. Vehicles violating these prohibitions are subject to a parking violation up to $75.

Vehicles are subject to a tow in the following circumstances:

• The vehicle is parked on a part of a Snow Emergency Route on a Municipal Parking lot when a parking prohibition is in effect.
• The vehicle is stalled on a part of a Snow Emergency Route on which there is a covering of snow, sleet, or ice or on which there is a parking prohibition in effect and the person who was operating such vehicle does not appear to be removing it in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter 51.21.
• The vehicle is parked on any public street within the City, or parked in any City Parking lot, in a parking space or location that has not yet been snowplowed, during the period that is 48-96 hours after deactivation of the Snow Routes.
• The vehicle is parked in violation of any parking ordinance or provision of law and is interfering or about to interfere with snow removal operations.
Trash Squirrels Recognized
The City of DeKalb salutes the Trash Squirrels for picking up more than three tons of trash in the community.

The all-volunteer group was recognized at the Nov. 22 City Council meeting. Its members have collected 6,022 pounds of trash in collections organized across the City. Mayor Cohen Barnes believes their work is inspiring others.

“I’ve personally been out there with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the heat of the summer, doesn’t matter what the weather conditions are, seeing them for hours go around our entire community and do everything they could to help beautify it, I’ve been just awe inspired,” said Barnes. “I truly believe that people out there see you on the side of the road, see you picking up trash, and I think that’s infectious. I think the ripples of what you all have been doing are going to cascade into many other residents.”

The group’s 640 members took part in 24 trash pick-up events this year. They receive support from Philip Henrikson from There’s Fun in Store. Trash Squirrels co-founder Julie Jesmer, who is also the newest member of the City’s Citizens’ Environmental Commission, says individuals can make a difference too.

“I’m encouraging everyone to pick up trash where they are,” said Jesmer. “Adopt a local piece of land and keep it clean.”

The Trash Squirrels will resume holding collection events in the spring. Going forward, Jesmer says they would like to partner with other organizations and see similar groups created in other cities.
The Trash Squirrels were recognized at the Nov. 22 DeKalb City Council meeting.
DeKalb Chamber Holding Cover Contest
For more details on the contest, click here.
City Hall Closure
City Hall will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Upcoming Meetings
Planning and Zoning Commission
Jan. 3, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Citizens' Environmental Commission
Jan. 6, 4 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Economic Development Commission
Jan. 7, 8:30 a.m. at the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation Offices

City Council
Jan. 10, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

DeKalb Public Library Board
Jan. 12, 7 p.m. in the Bilder Family Room at the DeKalb Public Library
Citizens' Community Enhancement Commission
Jan. 18, 4 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Planning and Zoning Commission
Jan. 18, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Fire Pension Board
Jan. 20, 8 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

City Council
Jan. 24, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Airport Advisory Board
Jan. 25, 7 p.m. in the West Community Hanger at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport
To view agendas for City meetings, please go to the City's Agenda Center here.
To check for meeting cancellations and location updates, please check the City Website here.
January Community Events
Stage Coach Players
126 South Fifth Street

Auditions for The Producers

Stage Coach Players is holding auditions for its spring production of The Producers, the modern musical comedy by Mel Brooks. The Producers will be directed by Scott Montavon.
Jan. 6-8

For more information, click here.

DeKalb Public Library
309 Oak Street

Family Fun Science: Egg Drop

Can you build an egg holder that will survive a great fall? For this month’s Family Fun Science, we’ll have supplies to build an egg container. Then we’ll drop them off the library’s balcony in an egg-stra special competition.

Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10-11 a.m.

Register for the event here, and see all of the library's programs on its calendar.
Egyptian Theatre
135 North Second Street

Satisfaction: Rolling Stones Tribute

“Satisfaction/The International Rolling Stones Show" is the international touring tribute show to the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band. Performing up to 150 shows a year, this highly acclaimed production showcases the most authentic cast & costuming of its kind.

Sunday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m.

Purchase tickets here. Learn about more events on the Theatre's Events Schedule.

Submit your event to be consider for the e-News Community Events Calendar by e-mailing here.

New! There's always plenty to do in DeKalb. Find more events by visiting the Community Events Calendar on the City's website.

Get community news all month long by following the City on social media!
City Officials
Cohen Barnes, Mayor

Carolyn Morris, Alderwoman - 1st Ward

Barb Larson, Alderwoman - 2nd Ward

Tracy Smith, Alderman - 3rd Ward

Greg Perkins, Alderman - 4th Ward
Scott McAdams, Alderman - 5th Ward

Mike Verbic, Alderman - 6th Ward

Anthony Faivre, Alderman - 7th Ward

Sasha Cohen, City Clerk

Bill Nicklas, City Manager
Hours of Operation
City Phone Numbers
City Hall          
164 E. Lincoln Highway
Monday - Friday  
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Police Station
700 West Lincoln Highway
Monday - Friday   
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Public Works
1216 Market Street
Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport    
3232 Pleasant Street  
Monday - Friday     
7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
City Clerk 815-748-2095 

City Manager's Office 815-748-2090

Community Development Department 815-748-2070

DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport 815-748-8102

Finance Department 815-748-2000

Fire/Police Emergency 911

Fire Non-Emergency 815-748-8460

Mayor's Office 815-758-1886

Police Non-Emergency 815-748-8400

Public Works Department 815-748-2040
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