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DeKalb County Board OKs marijuana tax, files fiscal 2020 budget

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County this week prepared for the legalization of recreational marijuana when it approved a tax on sales within the county.

The DeKalb County Board approved an ordinance establishing a 3.75% sales tax in unincorporated areas of the county and a 0.75% tax on sales within municipalities in the county limits, with one vote against. Tim Hughes, R-District 2, said he voted against the ordinance because he’s seen marijuana have a negative effect on people.

“I never said I was against medical marijuana,” he said Friday. But he said that there have been abuses of medical marijuana. “If there’s abuses in the medical marijuana, how can we police the recreational?”

Hughes said that of the people he knew who smoked marijuana when he was in high school in the 1970s, many have problems now.

In June, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a law legalizing recreational marijuana, making Illinois the 11th state to do so. Beginning Jan. 1, it will be legal in Illinois for residents 21 years and older to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The DeKalb City Council has shown support for allowing marijuana dispensaries in town and is already fielding calls from interested merchants, and earlier this week, Sycamore City Council members seemed to support looking into the idea, but favored waiting until after a public hearing before making any decisions.

Budget business

The board placed on file the budget for fiscal 2020. The $98.6 million budget takes into account a projected 6% increase in county equalized assessed valuation.

“This is the fifth consecutive year that the assessed value has increased following five consecutive years of declining assessed value,” according to the budget narrative.

The budget also includes 2% raises for nonunion employees and a 2% raise for exempt department heads.

Two funds that are expected to close out in 2020 are the County Farm Fund that originated with the sale of land at Barber Greene Road and Route 23 in the 1990s, and the Jail Expansion Construction Fund. Any leftover money from the Jail Expansion Fund, which is expected to come in under the estimated $36 million price tag for the project, will be moved to the County Farm Fund.

Final projects for the County Farm Fund include $75,000 for a jail basement storage system and $210,000 for a salt storage building for the Highway Department.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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