City council passes proposal request

By Lisa Daigle

The DeKalb City Council passed a proposal requesting Congress to halt aid to El Salvador following the deaths of six Jesuit priests Nov. 17.

With three aldermen voting against the proposal, three for, and one abstaining; DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow cast the deciding vote in favor of the proposal.

Eric Dale, campus minister at United Campus Ministries, 415 Normal Road, said “many people are calling for such restrictions” on the El Salvadorian government.

“The six Jesuit priests are just the tip of the iceberg,” Dale said.

Local church leaders circulated a petition last week to achieve the same goals as the proposal and collected over 100 signatures from NIU professors and students, church officials and DeKalb city officials including Sparrow and two aldermen.

“I don’t believe we as aldermen should be setting foreign policy,” 3rd Ward Alderman William Hanna said.

DeKalb 2nd Ward Alderman Michael Welsh said “this is not within the realm of the power of the city council.”

In other news, a special meeting to discuss the amount of security deposits landlords charge tenants will be held early next year.

DeKalb 6th Ward Alderman Jamie Pennington proposed an informational meeting to discuss issues of security deposit interest and limitations on pre-paid rent.

“This is very much an issue that the council needs to take a look at,” Pennington said.

Pennington’s specific complaints were tenants not receiving interest on their security deposit and landlords charging more than one and one-half months pre-paid rent.

More than one and one-half months of required pre-paid rent is a “different type of price discrimination,” Pennington said.

Welsh said he was concerned the city would become liable for any damages to apartments more than the amount of the security deposit if the renter suddenly left.

The city council also chose a possible tax levy that will come before the public in December. The total property tax rate might be increased to 3.6 percent.

An increase might also be felt on homes evaluated at $75,000 or more, going from $150.27 to either $155.05 or $155.75.

Welsh said the city should maintain tax rates at one level, stating the city lowered taxes last year. “That way you don’t have to bring it back up and make it look like we’re raising taxes,” Welsh said.