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Local

DeKalb City Council to vote on 4% lower tax levy, marijuana rules

Also: 2019 tax levy request expected to lower rate by 4%

City Manager Bill Nicklas is presenting the city council with four options for the upcoming tax levy, which is up for a City Council vote during Tuesday's regular meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.
City Manager Bill Nicklas is presenting the city council with four options for the upcoming tax levy, which is up for a City Council vote during Tuesday's regular meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council on Tuesday will hold a final vote to approve regulations for selling, growing and cultivating recreational marijuana ahead of the Jan. 1 legalization date.

At their final meeting in October, 1st Ward Alderwoman Carolyn Morris recommended removing any language in the proposed ordinance that would deter businesses wishing to do more than only sell marijuana. The edited ordinance goes up for a final vote in front of the City Council on Tuesday, set for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

The ordinance was amended to remove a clause prohibiting craft growers, cultivation centers, infusers, processors, transporters and medical marijuana cultivation centers before unanimously approving new regulations for recreational marijuana shops. The city also will impose a 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales.

Tax levy news

DeKalb city staff is moving forward with a 2019 tax levy that could see city residents pay 4% less on the city portion of their 2019 tax bill.

The City of DeKalb is hoping to collect $592 million in property taxes next year, which will be put toward the city’s growing pension debt, which documents show increased by 12% since 2018.

The increasing pension debt statewide is due to a state requirement that municipalities reach 90% of the pension funding levels by 2040, documents show. City Manager Bill Nicklas will present the city council with four options for the upcoming tax levy, which is up for a vote during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Property taxes are based on an equalized assessed value of their home, a value set annually by the DeKalb County assessor.

“The tax rate should be about 4% lower than last year,” Nicklas said Monday. “The city portion should be lower. The levy is going up, but it can go up, and people can still see a reduction in their taxes if the rate is lower because the overall community EAV goes up.”

For the proposed 2019 tax levy, the committee recommends capturing equalized assessed value of homes at 2%, documents show.

In 2018, the city’s levy increased by 3% from 2017 at a 1.1% tax rate, bringing in $6.5 million in revenue after abatements, $494,000 of which went to debt repayment for the DeKalb Public Library, documents show. The 2018 levy funded 91% of the city’s minimum contributions for their fire and police pension funds, which required $565,000 additional money to be taken from the city’s general fund to cover the remaining pension payments.

Nicklas said rates are subject to change based on people’s home values, however, and not all homes are the same.

“If people put an addition on their house, they’re not going to see a reduction,” he said. “But all things being equal, if the house is the same size, same square footage, then it should be a slight reduction.”

The City Council will vote Tuesday to approve the request, which will then be the subject of a public hearing prior to a vote to adopt the levy set for Nov. 25.

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