City Council to discuss future of Barb City Manor

May 13, 2019

DeKALB – The future of ownership for Barb City Manor could be changing, and City Council members will consider the current status of the lease for the long-standing independent-living home at their meeting Monday.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting shows Barb City Manor Inc., has leased the property at 680 Haish Blvd., which is owned by the city of DeKalb, since 1979, and the board is interested in extending the lease for another 20 years. 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, City Manager Bill Nicklas said. If the city decided to terminate the lease, they would also no longer be responsible for shouldering the maintenance.

“The Barb City Manor board has assumed smaller, routine maintenance things,” Nicklas said Thursday. “But if an item reaches over $10,000, we would pay for it. TIF 2, which used to be the engine for the money we would allocate, is on its way out.”

Barb City Manor serves seniors 62 and older, providing them with meals, linen service and a 24-hour staff as part of their rent.

The current lease was approved by the council April 8, 2013. It’s set to expire June 30, or 30 days after the city receives the last payment of incremental revenue from TIF 2 from the DeKalb County Treasurer, which is expected later this year, the agenda shows.

The City Council has three options. They could let the current lease expire and sell the property, which was the DeKalb Public Hospital until it closed in 1975, to Barb City Manor Inc., for $1.

They could renew the lease for a mutually agreed-upon term, and then figure out how to designate annual funding for the repairs. Or they could work out a transition lease of three to five years that would involve allocating funds at a smaller rate each year, giving the Barb City Manor board time to work up to being self-sustaining.

Because the city has set aside $100,000 a year for repair costs exceeding $10,000, there is $248,100 carried over from previous years, the agenda shows. The money would be placed in escrow for Barb City Manor to use on eligible projects over a two-year period if the lease were to be terminated, the agenda shows.

City Manager Bill Nicklas is requesting council input, and said he doesn’t think the city will want to get rid of what he calls a “critical part of our culture for 40 years.”

“I think the council has to weigh in here,” Nicklas said. “We’re not going to kick them out. But we haven’t had this discussion with the new council, so I’m starting the process for review. At some point we’ll want to hear from community members and ward constituents.