DeKalb 2025 Strategic Plan

On February 22, 2016, City Council approved and adopted the DeKalb 2025 Strategic Plan to be a 10-year guide for City operations.  

The full plan can be found here.

This plan is a groundbreaking document for the City, as it envisions DeKalb in 2025. Not only does the plan describe the envisioned result, it also sets the direction for City policy, budgeting, and program development for the next 10 years.

Strategic Plan Status: Informing the Community 

Current Year Updates 

Contributors from each City department provide updates on strategies from the Strategic Plan that were outlined during the FY2017 budget process. These updates are compiled quarterly and presented to the City Council and the community. Each quarterly update can be viewed below.

FY2017 First Quarter Update
FY2017 First Quarter Update - Presentation 
FY2017 Second Quarter Update
FY2017 Second Quarter Update - Presentation 
FY2017 Third Quarter Update
FY2017 Third Quarter Update - Presentation
FY2017 End of Year Update
FY2017 End of Year Update - Presentation

Archived Updates

Click here to view all Strategic Plan updates from prior years

Key Plan Elements


Mission Statement

A mission statement is a short description of the reason an organization or program exists. Mission statements help guide decisions about priorities, responsibilities, and actions, and as such are at the core of a strategic plan. Following is the mission of DeKalb City government developed as part of this collaborative community planning process:

Deliver high quality municipal services
to those who live, work, learn in
or visit our community

Core Values 

Core values are beliefs or convictions that guide and direct behavior and support purpose and vision. The City of DeKalb will utilize the following core values to guide its actions, shape the culture of city government, and form the basis of its standards-based performance review process.

• Integrity: The state of being honest, fair, and ethical in every situation, even if it’s unpopular.
• Professionalism: Serving with the highest level of respect, skill, and judgment in each situation.
• Excellence: The expectation of engaging in outstanding levels of performance.
• Service: Providing City services at the highest level for the advancement of the community.
• Collaboration: Working together to benefit from the resources, knowledge, wisdom and understanding of others.
• Accountability: Taking responsibility for our decisions and actions while doing everything possible to achieve the desired results.

Vision Statements 

Vision statements complement the mission by describing the future state of the community if the mission were fully realized. DeKalb's vision statements, which are complemented in the plan with detailed goals, strategies and actions, are as follows:

Vision of a Sense of Place
DeKalb is proudly known as a welcoming, safe, and vibrant
city offering economic, educational, social, cultural, and
recreational opportunities for everyone.

Vision of Community Vitality and a Vibrant Downtown 
DeKalb’s neighborhoods, the downtown, and NIU’s campus are
interconnected in a dynamic interplay of energy and creativity
that retains and attracts businesses with living-wage jobs.

Vision of Inclusiveness
Diversity is valued and celebrated, with
all people treated with dignity, equity
and respect.

Vision of Accessibility
DeKalb’s diverse and integrated transportation network provides
a wide variety of local and regional transportation options in an
efficient and user friendly manner.

Vision of Efficient, Quality, Responsive Services
Through sound fiscal stewardship and collaboration with
community stakeholders, City government identifies and
coordinates the resources needed to sustain a vibrant DeKalb.

To learn about the goals, strategies and actions associated with each vision statement, see the full plan

Next Steps for the Plan


The completed DeKalb 2025 Strategic Plan will guide the City’s annual investments, program and policy priorities, and performance reporting for the foreseeable future. The City will use the annual budgeting process to prioritize implementation activities based on need and available resources. City staff will implement a detailed tracking system to monitor and report progress with quarterly updates to Council.

Regular opportunities to revisit the plan will be provided to ensure that people who live, work, and/or attend school in DeKalb are able to comment on plan priorities and progress. The efforts of all of DeKalb’s leaders will be needed to encourage and support public participation in this ongoing planning process.

A Review of the Planning Process


Community Collaboration 

To help inform the strategic planning process, an extensive community engagement effort was conducted from May through July of 2015 to capture the opinions and ideas about the future of DeKalb from people who live, work, and/or learn in the city.

In total, information was received by 321 people who attended a conversation cafe (including those who attended multiple conversations), 91 who completed a survey, and two additional sets of emailed comments. Northern Illinois University’s (NIU’s) Center for Governmental Studies (CGS), provided facilitation for this planning process, organized and summarized this information, and shared it with City staff so they could provide additional input. A preliminary strategic planning framework was presented to the City Council and approved in late August 2015.

Building the Framework 

From September to early November 2015, senior City staff devoted significant time to translating the strategic planning framework into an operational document by adding strategies and actions. A number of these were drawn from specific suggestions made during the conversation cafes, some reflected a continuation of the work begun in previous years, and others were identified by department heads to advance the vision and goals that emerged from this process.

Given the 10-year time horizon, considerable efforts were made to ensure that the strategies and actions were comprehensive and forward-thinking.

Questions regarding the City's strategic planning process can be directed to the DeKalb City Manager's Office at 815-748-2090.  

The Planning Process


Community Collaboration 

 To help inform the strategic planning process, an extensive community engagement effort was condu
DeKalb Park