DeKalb County Board OKs tax abatement deal, funds for digital radio system

SYCAMORE — The DeKalb County Board authorized an agreement Wednesday with the city of DeKalb for a property tax abatement program of up to 50% for up to 20 years for developments between Illinois 23 and Peace Road near Gurler Road.

The board voted 22-0. There were two absences.

John Frieders, vice chairman of the DeKalb County Board, said the tax abatement for an unknown company is needed because it’s a part of how people do business today.

He said he does not know which company it is and that the company is unknown because negotiations are still happening.

“In today’s business world, it seems what you have to do to get businesses to come into your municipalities,” Frieders said of tax abatements, which are a reduction of taxes to encourage economic development.

He said the deal is a good one.

“It’s a good deal for the city, the county, and it’s good for the employment of our residents,” Frieders said.

The board determined it was in the best interest for county residents to stimulate commercial and industrial development throughout the county to help diversify the property tax base, according to the resolution.

While Mark Pietrowski, chairman of the board, said he is not a huge fan of tax abatements, because large companies should pay their share, there are advantages for communities that choose to allow them.

“It creates a ton of different jobs,” he said.

Frieders also said the county has what is known as a “clawback” clause, which means the company has to keep its promises.

“We can hold them accountable,” he said. “We can make sure they fulfill their promises.”

The board also voted unanimously for $365,000 for a digital radio system.

So far, there have been some reception issues with the system in Genoa, but DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said engineers continue to work out the flaws.

He said that he knows any issue, especially with communication, is a big issue.

“It’s why we’re working through those,” Scott said.

He said the system is operational and it’s all running.

When asked whether residents of Genoa, the town that is experiencing flaws with communications, are having trouble calling for help to police, fire and-or medical personnel, Scott assured that is not the case.

“Everybody is getting their calls,” Scott said.