After approving a balanced budget that lowers City property taxes, the DeKalb City Council plans to work with other taxing bodies to encourage more property tax relief.
The tax levy given final approval Monday night will reduce the City’s tax rate by an estimated 9 percent, which will result in an out-of-pocket savings for property owners. The levy also includes a pass-through amount for the DeKalb Public Library, and after discussions with City officials, the DeKalb Library Board agreed to collect $25,000 less in taxes than initially requested.
Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Verbic wants to see conversations on tax savings continue.
“How do we collectively get that done without impacting our quality of services?” said Verbic. “I think that these conversations with our governing partners will be very valuable for that effort.”
The lower levies are possible because of the end of TIF District One and economic development achievements, including the opening of the Ferrara Candy Company facilities. And Mayor Cohen Barnes said the City could become more competitive and see additional projects if taxes were reduced further.
“What that’s going to do is spur more economic development, that’s going to spur more money for more services that we can provide, and we’re going to do that while all along making it more affordable to live here,” said Barnes. “I’m really looking forward to working with the City Manager next year and our other taxing bodies.”
The Council Monday also approved the City budget for Fiscal Year 2022. The budget is balanced in all 32 funds, and it is expected the General Fund reserves will increase by more than $2.2 million.
Because of the growing tax base, the City will also be able to add three additional employees in the Police Department and eight more in the Fire Department to enhance services while addressing an increasing call volume.
Photo: Mayor Cohen Barnes discusses the tax levy at Monday night’s DeKalb City Council meeting.