Local artists to paint mural, church to be relocated


Patrick Murphy

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith partakes in the City Council meeting at DeKalb Public Library on July 27th.

Kierra Frazier, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — A public mural painting will soon emblazon the underpass of the Lincoln Highway bridge in light of recent racial injustice protests after the death of George Floyd.

A $1,000 check was presented at Monday night’s meeting by the Hometown Association of REALTORS to fund the mural.

The underpass, which connects NIU and Prairie Park, will be painted by Aaron Robertson with the help of four NIU art students: Shannon Gallagher, Jordan Jacobs, Rachel Tarant and Ivy Vargas.

Fifth Ward Alderperson Scott McAdams collaborated with the Hometown Association of REALTORS to come up with the funds for the project. He said the new mural will address the ongoing graffiti issue while illustrating a unifying message.

Compensation of Elected Officials

City Manager Bill Nicklas will be “recommending some really tough budget decisions” in August for the FY21 city budget due to COVID-19, Nicklas said Monday.

A consideration of the bi-annual review of compensation of elected officials was on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting. It introduced the 180-day window before spring elections to consider salary changes for elected officials. An ordinance needs to be presented before the 180-day window, which begins on Oct. 8, to establish future compensations.

The Spring 2021 elections for Mayor, Alderpersons two, four and six and City Clerk will be held on April 6. Compensation for elected officials can’t be changed during a term of office, according to the Illinois Constitution.

Finucane said he doesn’t see the city approving any salary increases for elected officials in the upcoming months.

“I don’t think any of us are in this for the money, but particularly in light of the crisis we are facing with the budget due to COVID and other things, I’m not looking forward to approving any kind of a salary increase for any of the elected officials,” Finucane said.

All elected officials are considered part-time. Council members have a salary of $5,400, the mayor with $22,500 and the city clerk with $8,000, according to the FY20 budget.

CARES Act Funds

A resolution to approve additional funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to be used for multiple public service programs in the city was passed unanimously at Monday night’s meeting.

The CARES Act is a $2 trillion economic relief package in response to COVID-19, according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s website. It provides assistance to families, workers, small businesses and more.

The city was awarded $271,899 from CARES Act funds, according to the July 27 agenda. The city will use $225,000 to expand three public services such as Elder Care Services, Hope Haven and Safe Passage and one new public service such as the Family Service Agency.

Funds toward the Family Service Agency will help residents who are having trouble with their rent, mortgage and utility assistance for residents, according to the agenda. The additional $46,899 in funds will be saved for future needs related to the pandemic.

Nicklas said the city has received calls from residents who need assistance in terms of rent and mortgage payments, and this additional funding will now be able to help them.

DeKalb First United Methodist Church

Three ordinances to approve a new location and building for the DeKalb First United Methodist Church were also passed unanimously on first and second reading Monday night.

The church will be relocating from 317 N. Fourth St. to the west side of N. Annie Glidden Road across the DeKalb County Health Facility, according to the agenda. The site is almost 16 acres, and the church is planned to be 7,730 square feet in area.

The church will include a 203-seat sanctuary, classrooms, a coffee and lounge area, administrative offices and a kitchen, according to the agenda.

The three passed ordinances included the annexation and development agreement, approval of the annexation of property and approval of the zoning petition.

Along with this project, a new road – named Beautiful Gate Drive – will be constructed in the future to enter the church.

“This has been a much-discussed and long-negotiated – but well-negotiated – package of provisions, and we feel that this would be a great addition to the Northwest Side,” Nicklas said.