DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council responded to a concentrated plea by residents acting on behalf of Barb City Manor, and will look to extend the manor’s lease for 10 more years, supplemented by financial contributions for capital improvements.
Numerous officials and residents from the independent living home spoke Monday in support of the independent living facility, which serves seniors 62 and older, providing them meals, linen service and a 24-hour staff. In May, the council began mulling what to do with the current lease, which is set to expire June 30. The topic was not up for a vote Monday, but council gave consensus to explore a 10-year lease, giving the manor $50,000 a year for the first five years, with financial considerations for the remaining five.
DeKalb resident Ron Klein, who also sits on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, talked about the facility’s familial atmosphere, cleanliness and important role it plays in helping elderly DeKalb residents transition to their later years.
“It fills a very significant niche between the situation of people who no longer can live alone, and a nursing home, or who aren’t ready for a nursing home,” Klein said. “Often these are people who cannot afford to buy into a more expensive facility [like Oak Crest retirement community].”
The goal for lease renewal is to figure out a way to make Barb City Manor financially self-sufficient, City Manager Bill Nicklas has said.
Barb City Manor Inc. has leased the property at 680 Haish Blvd., which is owned by the city of DeKalb, since 1979. Since the creation of the tax increment finance district known as TIF 2, the city has budgeted $100,000 a year for annual building maintenance and repair, Nicklas has said. Because TIF 2 expired Dec. 31, the city is deciding what to do with the lease because money is not available for capital repairs.
Nicklas said the city needs to find capital money from a source which does not currently exist, given the city’s current financial constraints. He said the city could potentially use motor fuel tax funds, but a better option is to discover another revenue source.
“When I came in I said ‘Let’s look at the general capital fund.’ Well, guess what? We don’t have one,” Nicklas said. “We only have the general fund and water fund. The other thing you can do is raise the home rule tax but we’re already high. It’s not going to be out of our current budget unless you want to take out of the operating side, which I recommend you not do.”
“Your options are not attractive,” Mayor Jerry Smith said to Nicklas.
Aldermen were largely in support of the manor’s lease extension, and directed Nicklas to identify some financing options that would still allow the manor to address expensive maintenance necessities.