3 years ago by Bob Gough, QuincyJournal
Mayor says 18 firefighters and seven police officers would be cut; Two fire stations would close if state cuts off funding
A bill that could divert $1.4 billion statewide from schools, cities and other local governments went nowhere in the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, did not try to move his proposal to take money from corporate personal property replacement tax receipts and use it to fund the Teachers’ Retirement System. Money from that tax now goes to local governments and schools.
“It just wasn’t the time to call it,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.
Quincy Mayor John Spring said it could be called today.
Quincy Mayor John Spring submitted written testimony to the State Legislature on Wednesday to detail his concerns over HB 3637, which would take PPRT funding away from local taxing bodies.
Spring went to Springfield in order to give testimony in front of a House committee, but the discussion ended up being delayed, so Spring merely submitted his testimony in writing.
The impact on the City of Quincy would mean an annual loss of revenue of $3 million.
“We have been balancing our budgets by taking this responsibility seriously,” Spring said. “Local governments have not created the State’s pension problems and it is wrong to take our revenues to solve a problem we did not create.”
Spring laid out a scenario of how a loss of $3 million, or 10 percent of the City’s budget would affect services. He said public safety would have to be impacted as the City has already cut 35 employees since 2009, down to 313.
In order to absorb that hit, Spring said the City would close two of its five fire stations after laying off 18 firefighters and cut seven police officers, which would save the City roughly $1.9 million.
Spring said other items on the table would include animal control, housing officers, crossing guards and school liaison officers.
Spring said if the City had to lay off workers, the money to pay their unemployment would still come from City coffers as the City is self-insured.
PPRT funding also contributes $416,000 the Fire Pension Fund (or 13.42% of it) and $288,920 (9.32%) to the Police Pension Fund and $340,000 to the Quincy Public Library.
If all Adams County taxing bodies lose their PPRT funding, it would mean a $10 million hit to them and the action would take effect July 1 if the Legislation passes.
House Bill 3637 is expected to be taken up before the Legislative session ends May 31.
Spring traveled to Springfield today with Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks and Alderman Dan Brink (R-6th Ward).