Voters defeat tax hike

By Rob Heselbarth

DeKalb County voters soundly defeated a referendum Tuesday that would have added a three-cent property tax increase to benefit the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service.

Bob Brown, director of the extension service, said he was shocked at the lack of support and the margin of defeat the referendum suffered.

The returns showed 70 percent of the voters (7,052) were against the tax increase while 30 percent (3038) were in favor of it.

Brown said changes will have to be made within the service now that it will not be receiving the anticipated money.

“We will have a retreat where we will look at the future and prioritize programs and lay off staff and discontinue certain programs,” Brown said. “This will be the first time since 1912 that when people call for programs, we will have to tell them we don’t offer it anymore.

“There is no doubt we will consider private sources for funding, but we were trying to avoid that,” he said. “Those (sources of funding) are unpredictable and short-term.”

Brown cited many reasons for the defeat, including being in the shadow of NIU and Kishwaukee College.

“They are excellent institutions, and I guess the people did not want to increase taxes for programs they could get at NIU or Kishwaukee College,” he added.

Brown said of 80 Illinois counties that could have passed similar referendums, 70 passed them and 10 did not.