DeKalb County Board accepts budget totaling nearly $7 million

By Michael McVey

Unlike the federal and state budgets, the DeKalb County budget was not a victim of gridlock.

The nearly $7 million budget passed 21 to 2 at Wednesday night’s Dekalb County Board meeting. Only Loren Akers (R-5th district) and John O’Meara (D-8th) voted against the budget. Thomas Gary (D-6th) was absent from the meeting.

“I think everyone did a very good job with this budget. I want everyone to know that we have a very lean budget again this year. This budget is only a half of one percent increase from last year’s budget,” said Robert Hutcheson, Jr. (R-1st), chair of the county board.

Several other resolutions were passed at the meeting. The first was a resolution to give Keystone Resources, Inc., a three-month extension to their six-month contract with the board to develop and sell the DeKalb County Farm at Sycamore and Barber Greene Roads. The farm will be converted to a retail mall.

A motion to table the extension until the Dec. 15 meeting failed by a 9 to 14 vote.

Ray Bockman, administrative aide to the board, explained the need for time to upgrade the farm to environmental standards required for a mall, and to receive bids from businesses to build the mall. Since the current contract expires four days before the Jan. 19 meeting of the board, Bockman said the three month extension would ensure ample time to finish the project.

Concerns were raised by several board members over the cost of the extension, which could not exceed $25,500. Bockman said the contract could be ended before April 15 if the development and bidding process was completed earlier, so not all of the $25,500 would be spent. Bockman said one month should be enough time.

The extension passed 21 to 2, with Richard O’Kane (R-1st) and James Sheridan (D-9th) dissenting.

A resolution to exclude county employees who work less than 1,000 hours per year from paying into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund passed by voice vote, with only Thomas Woodstrup (R-4th) opposed.

All other resolutions passed 23-0. These included DeKalb County Healthcare Purchasing Group contracts with Kishwaukee Community Hospital and the DeKalb Clinic; adopting the changes in the state law on real estate transfers; the property tax levy for the Fiscal Year 1994 budget, which decreases the tax on a $100,000 home from $301.83 to $280.74; accepting a bid on a snow plowing contract; year-end budget transfers and claims; and the Fiscal Year 1993 tax levy for the forest preserve district.

Anthony Jacob (D-7th) said the main concern about the 1994 budget was a new method of adoption. “Until this year they went over the budget line-by-line. This year they wrote summaries of each item and voted on the budget as a whole. This saves time, but some members feel we should go over all the line items,” he said.

Jacob echoed Hutcheson’s praise of the fiscal restraint shown by the board. “This is one of the lowest increases the county has proposed,” he said.

The 11-page “DeKalb County Government FY94 Budget Summary” listed the budgets and levies for all years from FY90 to FY94. The yearly increases were 4.9, 10.8, 0.1, 2.2 and 0.5 percent, respectively. In that time the tax rate has decreased by 22 percent, but this has been offset by a 45 percent increase in the Equalized Assessed Value of all property in DeKalb County.

Jacob said the board has tried to hold the line on property taxes, and to seek other sources of revenue for the budget.