Frequently Asked Questions


The issue at hand

The DeKalb County Health Department has been providing public health services to promote the health and safety of DeKalb County citizens since 1966.

The Health Department provides health protection and safety for all residents of DeKalb County. 

Grants make up the largest portion of the Health Department budget and due to significant reductions in grant funding, the Health Department has lost almost a quarter of its staff and services have been eliminated or diminished. Currently, only 23% of the Health Department budget is county tax funded.

The Referendum is to replace lost grant funding in order to sustain current public health services. The annual cost would be $9.57 (under $1 per month) for the owner of a $100,000 home.

If approved, the Referendum would save essential services for the public: 

  • Health and safety services during emergencies like tornados, floods, disease outbreaks or terror attacks  
  • Restaurant health inspections 
  • Investigations to prevent the spread of infectious disease 
  • Care for pregnant women, new moms, infants and children

Below are some questions and answers that will provide you with information on the April 4, 2017 Referendum to support public health services:

What you need to know


What is the Health Department asking of voters?

For the first time in 50 years of operation, the Health Department is asking county residents to vote on a Referendum that, if approved, would provide $500,000 in revenue annually to help sustain the current services of the DeKalb County Health Department.

How much will my tax dollars go up if this referendum passes?

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $9.57 in property taxes annually. The average tax per acre of farmland would increase by 11.5 cents per acre.

Without additional funding, how will local public health programs and services be impacted?

Programs funded by grants are at greatest risk of reduction or elimination. Those grant-funded programs include:

  • Maternal and child health programs to ensure the health of our babies and children.
  • Environmental Health programs to ensure safe food and water, including restaurant, well and septic inspections.
  • Communicable Disease Prevention to reduce the spread and prevent outbreaks of diseases.
  • Emergency preparedness and response to keep residents healthy and safe.

How is the health department funded?

  • 40% State & Federal Grants
  • 36% Fees
  • 23% County Taxes
  • 1% Other

The proportion of revenue from grants has been declining over the past decade from a high of 48% in 2013. Grants are estimated at 39% of revenue in 2017.

What is a Limiting Rate Referendum?

A referendum to increase the base amount of the County's tax levy as allowed by the "tax cap" law. If approved by the voters, the Referendum would increase the base by $500,000 for public health services, or $9.57 for a $100,000 home.

When the building bonds were retired in 2016, taxes dropped by $650,000 in 2017. This referendum would have the net effect of an overall drop of $150,000 in taxes for 2018.

What is the required ballot language for the levy?

Shall the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for DeKalb County, Illinois be increased by an additional amount equal to 0.02871% above the limiting rate for the purpose of providing public health services for levy year 2015 and be equal to 1.22740% of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy year 2017?

  1. The approximate amount of taxes extendable at the most recently extended limiting rate is $21,530,492.77, and the approximate amount of taxes extendable if the proposition is approved is $22,030,444.60.
  2. For the 2017 levy year, the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single-family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $9.57

Further questions


If the referendum passes, how long will current services be sustained?

This is hard to predict given the uncertainty of Federal and State funding.

What services would the tax dollars support?

The Health Department provides an array of programs and services including:

  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Communicable Disease Control and Prevention
  • Adult and Childhood Immunizations
  • Environmental Health (safe food and water)
  • Animal Control (rabies prevention and vicious dog control)
  • Health Promotion to reduce chronic diseases
  • Emergency Preparedness & Response

For more information about Health Department services, please visit the DeKalb County Health Department website.

What has the Health Department done to address declining revenue?

  • We have reduced the equivalent of 12 full-time employees since 2010 (a 24% workforce reduction).
  • We have increased revenue from fees to help offset losses.

If I don't use public health services, why should my taxes support the Health Department?

While not always obvious, everybody benefits from public health:

  • When you eat and shop at local food establishments that have passed health inspections
  • When we respond to public health emergencies such as natural and technological disasters, disease outbreaks and terrorism
  • When we prevent the spread of diseases in the community
  • When we assure all children have access to immunizations that prevent individual and community diseases
  • When prior to traveling outside the United States you obtain protection from diseases with vaccines
  • When vicious or stray animals create safety concerns in your neighborhood
  • When we invest in quality maternal and child health programs; research shows that communities that make this investment improve health, educational outcomes and financial stability for families

According to the American Public Health Association, Public Health saves tax dollars. Every $1 spent on prevention, the focus of public health, saves approximately $5.60 in healthcare spending (October 2014).

When will DeKalb County residents be able to vote on this referendum?

Election day is April 4, 2017 and early voting starts February 23, 2017.