City considers use of TIF funds

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB — The City Council discussed the Elburn bus shuttle, new City Hall building and TIF funding for the former Eduardo’s Mexican restaurant 6 p.m. Monday at the DeKalb Municipal Builidng.

TIF funding for former Eduardo’s Mexican restaurant

Following the closure of Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, 206 E. Lincoln Highway, in December, owner Rosa Balli asked council members to consider a Tax Increment Financing Funding request for the rehabilitation of the property.

Balli said she hopes to remodel the second floor of the family’s two-story building into four apartments: one single-bedroom apartment and three two-bedroom apartments, according to the agenda.

“We did express a preliminary plan to reinvest in the second floor a few decades ago,” Balli said. “The City Administrator and a couple different mayors didn’t wish to open up the cash box of TIF for existing building owners, so there sat our second floor, with no additional Equalized Assessed Value.”

An EAV is a value of a property that’s determined by a local government. A TIF is a way for the city to help finance various companies through taxes for a project site or for redevelopment within the city.

City staff requested direction from the council on how to proceed during the meeting, rather than recommendations. Council members who spoke to the consideration were in favor of it and said they hope to get involved with the project in the future.

New City Hall building

Another consideration on Monday night’s agenda included a remodeling estimate for what will be the DeKalb City Hall’s new location.

In May, council members approved a resolution to move City Hall from the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., to the Nehring Building, 164 E. Lincoln Highway.

The move could come as early as spring, Nicklas said. While city government offices will be moving to the Nehring Building, City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission meetings will be held in the Yasunas Meeting Room of the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St.

For the remodeling work, moving costs and the Yasunas meeting space in the DeKalb Public Library, the move would amount to $260,000 from the funds for the project, according to the agenda.

Former Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos said she’s not in favor of the move to the Nehring Building and that council and city need to be together.

“If this new plan doesn’t work, we’re going to end up, somewhere between two and five years from now, needing a new City Hall, meaning more tax dollars would be spent on another building,” Chronopoulos said.

Morris echoed Chronopoulos and said she’s concerned about downsizing, just to upsize in the future.

Nicklas asked council members why the city would want to upsize the city government building when the population is falling.

“All of these issues were part of the consideration; we’re not here tonight to reargue the move,” Nicklas said. “I’ve given you what I think is a very modest proposal for the remodeling of the Nehring Building.”

Elburn bus shuttle

The City Council also considered an earlier shuttle option from DeKalb to the Elburn Metra station.

The consideration follows numerous requests from students and residents hoping for an earlier shuttle to better accommodate class and work schedules, according to the Jan. 13 agenda.

The estimated annual increase for additional transportation is $23,616, City Manager Nicklas said.

While the Illinois Department of Transportation Downstate Operating Assistance Program would fund 65% of the cost, the remaining 35% would be provided by funds from the city and NIU intergovernmental agreement.

Morris said the city should act as soon as possible to meet the high demand.