Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
News

Council gives first OK to tax measures

DeKALB - A proposal including a new tax and a tax increase led to a heated exchange between aldermen and residents at Monday night's DeKalb City Council meeting. Business owners vehemently opposed increasing the city's sales tax from 7.5 percent to 8 percent, arguing that sales will go to nearby towns with lower taxes. Some residents also took issue with the idea of a 2-cents-per-gallon gas tax. Officials responded by pointing out that the taxes are one part of the city's plan to avert future budget shortfalls without laying off city workers and reducing services. The council passed the tax proposal on a first reading and is scheduled to take a final vote on the changes March 24. Alderman David Baker, 6th Ward, was the only council member to vote against the sales tax increase but approved the gas tax. Baker proposed a last-minute change to increase the sales tax to 7.75 percent, but the amendment was voted down. “It's our turn to roll up our sleeves and think of other ways to balance the budget,” Baker said. Alderman Kris Povlsen, 2nd Ward, admitted reluctance to back the sales tax increase because he has opposed past hikes, but voted for it because the city has cut costs this time. In addition to the city cutting 10 positions through retirement and attrition, DeKalb's public works and community development departments are reorganizing, and city staff has mandated a 10 percent cut in non-personnel expenses. “We had an outcry when layoffs came up, and we have an outcry with taxes,” Povlsen said. “We can't have it both ways as costs continue to rise here and across the nation.” Celeste Cullivan, manager of Lowe's Home Improvement in DeKalb, said the tax increase will drive customers to her competitors a few miles north in Sycamore. City Manager Mark Biernacki said in light of Sycamore's recent sales tax increase, if DeKalb were to go to 8 percent the difference between the two cities will be the same as it has been since 2003. Sycamore raised its tax from 7 percent to 7.5 percent to fund a new street repair program. Alderman Bertrand Simpson, 1st Ward, said no one on the city council was happy about the taxes, but he felt they were the right thing to do. Simpson compared the need for action on the budget shortfall to the city's response to the flooding in August and the snow-heavy winter. “No one is getting fat off of this,” Simpson said. “We are least likely to take advantage of you. When we look at the mirror we see you, because we are you. We just happen to be the people responding to this crisis.”

How they voted

On the gas tax: Yes: Bertrand Simpson, Kris Povlsen, Victor Wogen, Donna Gorski, Ron Naylor, David Baker and Brent Keller

On the sales tax raise: Yes: Bertrand Simpson, Kris Povlsen, Victor Wogen, Donna Gorski, Ron Naylor and Brent Keller No: David Baker

Loading more