April 2023

Mayor Holds Summit on Lowering Property Tax Rate

DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes has held a tax summit to encourage DeKalb area taxing bodies to work collaboratively to bring down the total property tax rate in the City.

At the summit held Thursday, March 9, Barnes asked representatives of the taxing bodies to lower the aggregate property tax rate in the City from its current 11 percent to nine percent over two years, providing tax relief for existing community members while helping to attract new housing and businesses.

Barnes said the lower rate is possible following the substantial industrial investments in the ChicagoWest Business Center, including the Ferrara Candy Company facilities and Meta’s DeKalb Data Center.

“(We) had an open and candid conversation about, what I believe, is the fiduciary responsibility of all of us in office today, to recognize the fact that we’re in an unprecedented situation in the City economically with all the new economic development coming to our community,” said Barnes while discussing the summit at the City Council meeting on March 13. “It is finally time for us collectively to work together to drive our tax rate, the aggregate tax rate of the City of DeKalb, down.”

The total value of property in DeKalb has increased by about $200 million in the past three years. With this rapid pace of development, Barnes noted taxing bodies can lower their tax rates while at the same time continue to grow their levies.

Along with lowering taxes for existing residents and businesses, Barnes said a reduced total tax rate would help eliminate an obstacle to new housing and further economic development.

“Nine percent gets us competitive with just about every community in the surrounding area, going into Elgin, Geneva, Batavia, all of those, (and) I’m including the City of Sycamore,” said Barnes.

The Mayor said he was pleased to see all the taxing bodies come together and work collectively, and he expects the collaboration will continue in other areas.

Following the initial summit, a small working group will be created to develop scenarios for lowering the aggregate rate. Those options will then be brought back to a reconvened summit. Before this work begins, the 2022 tax rates need to be published, likely in April.

In This Issue

Park & Ride Service Offered to Elburn METRA Station

Council Supports New Downtown Business

Vietnam Era Veterans Honored 

Yard Waste Pickup Resumes

New Use Proposed for Warehouse

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Avenger Will Fly Again

A World War II TBM Avenger housed at DeKalb Airport since an emergency landing last spring is nearly ready to return to the skies.

After the plane experienced catastrophic engine failure in May of last year, the pilot was able to land in a field near Malta.

The plane was towed to DeKalb Airport’s Community Hangar where it has been housed while awaiting the delivery of a new engine.

The new engine was delivered March 20 and has been installed. After a few final adjustments are made, it’s expected this warbird will be back in the air.

Learn more about DeKalb Airport by following its Faceook page

Park & Ride Service Offered to Elburn METRA Station

The DeKalb Public Transit System is pleased to announce the first Park and Ride for the Route 12 (Elburn route).

The City of DeKalb’s Frost lot, which is located on East Locust Street between North Sixth Street and North Seventh Street, is the first lot that commuters can use instead of driving to the Elburn METRA Station. The service began March 20.

“Park your car and leave the driving to us,” said DeKalb Public Assistant Transit Manager Brian Van Hine, “and there is no charge for parking in the lot.”

The new service coincided with a change of the fare on the Route 12 (Elburn route). The price has been lowered from $4.00 for general public and $1.00 for NIU ONE card holders to $0.50 for general public and free for NIU ONE card holders.

Council Supports New Downtown Business

The DeKalb City Council is supporting a project by local business owners to give new life to a downtown space.

The Council on March 27 approved an Architectural Improvement Program grant for Quatro Amigos Venue, a banquet and private party space opening in the former Lincoln Inn location at 240 E. Lincoln Highway. The new business will be operated by the owners of El Jimador Mexican Grill.

The grant will help fund a new façade for the building. The previous painted plywood siding has been removed and will be replaced with stone veneer.

Mayor Cohen Barnes congratulated the owners on their new venture.

“Thanks for investing in the community,” said Barnes. “It’s fantastic what you all are doing, so we definitely appreciate everything.”

The $25,000 grant will be funded through the Tax Increment Financing district. The Architectural Improvement Program was recently expanded to include commercial businesses outside of the TIF District. The new Fund 400 program aims to help revitalize buildings on DeKalb’s east side and along the South Fourth Street corridor.

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

Do you know someone looking for a full-time position over the summer? Check out our current opportunities! 

• Public Works

Seasonal Maintenance – $15.00/hr. Multiple positions available.

• Airport Intern – $15.50/hr. Grant Funded. Must be a current NIU student.

• Engineering Intern – $15.50/hr. Grant Funded. Must be a current NIU student.

Applications will be accepted until positions are filled and can be submitted here.

Vietnam Era Veterans Honored

DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes has issued a special proclamation honoring the sacrifice and contributions of Vietnam Era Veterans.

Issued at the City Council meeting on March 27, the proclamation recognized March 29, 2023, as Vietnam Veterans Day and the 50th anniversary of the complete withdrawal of combat and combat support units from South Vietnam. It salutes Vietnam Era Veterans for their faithful service.

“Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the hardships suffered and sacrifices made by nine million Americans during the Vietnam War, including their families who supported them before and after the war,” reads the proclamation.

Vietnam Era Veterans are also honored for their contributions at home. The proclamation recognizes that these veterans “have worked for the last 50 years to promote awareness of the importance of communities empowering veterans and the necessity of helping veterans readjust to civilian life after military service.”

After the proclamation was read, it was presented by Mayor Barnes to the DeKalb American Legion, DeKalb AMVETS and the DeKalb 40&8 Veterans organizations.

DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes and the City Council join DeKalb Veterans organizations in recognizing Vietnam Veterans Day and the service of Vietnam Era Veterans.

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Yard Waste Pickup Resumes

LRS resumes seasonal collection of landscape waste on regularly scheduled pickup days beginning April 1.

Residents are reminded of general guidelines:

• Landscape waste must be placed in approved biodegradable landscape waste bags or open garbage cans not larger than 32-gallon capacity - no plastic bags or boxes.

• LRS also offers Yard Waste carts for an additional, small monthly fee. Please call (815) 770-7550 to request a Yard Waste cart.

• Brush must be cut to 4-foot lengths and bundled with string or baler’s twine, (no wire or plastic rope) not to exceed 50 pounds. 

Questions may be directed to the Public Works Operations Division at 815-748-2040.

DeKalb Fire Provides Warm Weather Safety Tips

With warmer weather approaching, DeKalb Fire wants to remind you of some things to think about when starting your spring cleaning around your home:

Inspect grills to ensure they’re in good working order

• Inspect your grill carefully and make sure it’s free of grease or fat buildup. Clean out any nests, spider webs, or other debris you may find.

• For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.

Properly use and store gasoline

• Use gasoline only as motor fuel, never as a cleaner or to break down grease.

• Only store gasoline in a container that is sold for that purpose and never bring it indoors, even in small amounts.

• Never store gasoline containers in a basement or in the occupied space of a building. Keep them in a detached garage or an outdoor shed.

• Make sure the container is tightly capped when not in use.

Carefully dispose of rags with paint and stain

The oils commonly used in oil-based paints and stains release heat as they dry. If the heat is not released in the air as the rags dry, the heat is trapped, builds up and can cause a fire.

• Never leave cleaning rags in a pile. When you’re finished using the rags, take them outside to dry, keeping them well away from the home and other structures.

• Hang rags outside or spread them on the ground and weigh them down so that they don’t blow away.

• Put dried rags in a metal container, making sure the container is tightly covered. Fill the container with a water and detergent solution, which will break down the oils.

• Keep containers of oily rags in a cool place out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources. Check with your town for information on how to properly dispose of them.

Use/store flammable and combustible liquids with care

• Flammable and combustible liquids should not be used near an open flame.

• Never smoke when working with these liquids.

• If you spill liquids on your clothing, remove your clothing and place it outside to dry. Once dry, clothing can be laundered.

• Keep liquids in their original containers. Keep them tightly capped or sealed. Never store the liquids in glass containers.

Keep debris well away from your home

• Dispose of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for fire.

• Remove leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.

• Remove dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.

• Move construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other outbuildings.

Clean out your clothes dryer

• Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe for your dryer is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. This includes making sure the outdoor vent flap is not covered by snow.

• Move things that can burn, such as boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, away from the dryer.

• Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.


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

DeKalb Police Plan Pancake Breakfast

The annual DeKalb Police PBPA Pancake Breakfast is Sunday, April 16 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Knights of Columbus!

We know it's called the "pancake breakfast," but the homemade biscuits and gravy always steals the show!

You can pre-purchase tickets from the lobby at the station, from any DeKalb Police officer, or pay at the door on April 16th. Cash or checks made payable to DeKalb PBPA. We hope to see you there!

New Transit Center Enters Design Phase

The City of DeKalb is moving into the design phase for a new transit center to be built with state and federal funding.

The City Council March 27 approved hiring Stantec Architecture to create the architectural and engineering design for a Transit Maintenance and Operations Facility on City-owned land along Dresser Road, near Annie Glidden Road.

The new facility, from which the DeKalb Public Transit System will operate its bus fleet, will replace the current facility on Pleasant Street, which is no longer large enough for the system’s needs. It will also have the electrical infrastructure needed for the transition to electric buses. 

The design will include 50,000 square feet under roof and another 210,000 square feet of shielded outdoor storage and grounds. The City has secured $20.8 million in state and federal funding for the project, with the Transit System seeking an additional $10 million in federal funds. The design will be scalable to match the funding available.

A Site Selection Committee evaluated three possible locations for the new center before recommending the Dresser Road site, which was approved by the City Council in October. This location is close to existing and potential future routes, providing for more efficient operations. Also, the selection report noted there is no floodplain in the project area and no disturbance is anticipated within the wetland area on the north end of the property.

The transit center design is expected to be completed by June 2024 with the City requesting proposals for construction the following month.

New Use Proposed for Warehouse

The DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a rezoning request for a new use for a warehouse building on April 3.

A public hearing will be held on the request to rezone the warehouse at 2239 Sycamore Road from Single-Family Residential District to Planned Development Commercial District. A tent rental business is planning to relocate to the building, which is behind Ellwood Steak and Fish House.

The warehouse was previously owned by Northern Illinois University, which sold the building last year due to its condition and distance from campus. The new owner, Pappas Glasgow Development, has completed a renovation of the building.

The public hearing will be held at the Commission meeting at 6 p.m. April 3 in the Yusunas Meeting Room at the DeKalb Public Library. The meeting agenda can be found here.

Upcoming Meetings

Planning & Zoning Commission

April 3, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Human Relations Commission

April 4, 6 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Citizens' Environmental Commission

April 6, 4:30 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

City Council

April 10, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

DeKalb Public Library Board

April 12, 7 p.m. in the Bilder Family Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Planning & Zoning Commission

April 17, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Fire Pension Board

April 20, 9 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

City Council

April 24, 6 p.m. in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library

Airport Advisory Board

April 25, 7 p.m. in the West Community Hangar at the DeKalb Airport

Police Pension Board

April 28, 10 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Training Room at the DeKalb Police Department

Joint Review Board

April 28, 1 p.m. in the 1st Floor Conference Room at DeKalb City Hall

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.

April Community Events

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Local Showase & Job Fair

Learn more about your community and get hired at local businesses.

Thursday, April 27, 4-7 p.m.

DeKalb Sports & Recreation Center

1765 S. 4th St.

Find out more about the showcase here.

Get community news all month long by following the City of DeKalb on social media.

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  YouTube

DeKalb Public Library

309 Oak Street

After-hours Concert: NIU Steelband

This free concert will be an eclectic program of musical styles highlighting the versatility and profundity the steelpan.

Saturday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.

Learn more about the program here, and view all of the library's programs on its calendar.

Egyptian Theatre

135 N. 2nd Street

Girls Night: The Musical

This touching and hilarious tell-it-like-it-is musical takes audiences on a journey into the lives of a group of female friends.

Thursday, April 20, 7:30 p.m.

Purchase tickets here, and see the theater's full schedule on its Events calendar.

Stage Coach Players

126 S. 5th Street

Funny Money

A comedy directed by Bernie Schuneman and co-directed by Jan Booth.

April 27-May 7

Purchase tickets here, and visit the theater's full schedule.

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

Ruth Scott, Recording Secretary

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     

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

City Clerk 815-748-2090 

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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