Sales tax revenue below projection

By Madison Kacer

Sales tax revenues, which help indicate the state of the local economy, are dipping 3.07 percent below projections within the Illinois Municipal League, according to the preliminary Fiscal Year end 2016 review.

Illinois taxes general merchandise purchases at 6.25 percent, which is collected by the Illinois Department of Revenue. One percent of this revenue is returned to the municipality in which the purchase was made. DeKalb uses this money for various operational costs.

The report, which was presented by DeKalb Finance Director Cathy Haley during Monday’s city council meeting at the DeKalb Municipal Building, does not feature final data.

The finalized numbers will be released between October and November, as final audit fieldwork begins during the week of Oct. 3.

Some city council members expressed concern about the dipping sales tax revenue, as it is a major source of income for the city. Sales and use taxes account for the majority of city revenue, coming in at 44.2 percent for the FY16 budget.

“To look and see that our sales tax numbers have dipped almost 5 percent, and I’m looking year over year back like they were in the [2013-14] period, it’s somewhat scary,” 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson said. “It’s terrifying, in fact.”

If the projection is accurate, this will be the largest dip for sales tax revenue in the last three years. At the end of FY14, revenue dipped .94 percent below projections. The ends of FY13 and FY15 exceeded projections, according to the report.

The dip in revenue comes after multiple restaurants in the downtown area shut down, including The House Café, formerly located at 263 E. Lincoln Highway, and Panda Express, formerly located at 1015 W. Lincoln Highway.

“[This document] shows a very different picture of what the future may look like if these trends continue than the city is propagating against the community,” Jacobson said.

The information that results from the final audit will be incorporated in future budgets the city produces. City Manager Anne Marie Gaura said the draft FY17 budget will be ready in about four weeks and will include a five-year financial forecast.

“We’re looking at all of the revenues and expenditures every month to make sure that we’re staying within the budget parameters,” Gaura said.

Go to to view the full report presented at Monday’s meeting.