Forest Park is fighting back against a proposal by Governor Bruce Rauner that would cost the city $700,000 annually, starting with a sternly-worded resolution.
Village council members, Monday night, unanimously approved the resolution, which opposes Rauner’s plan to reduce local government distributive funds to municipalities throughout the state by 50 percent, which would lead to major reductions in police, fire department, and public works services.
“The solution to fixing the state’s problems cannot be on the backs of local government. It would absolutely have a negative impact on our operations,” said Mayor Tony Calderone. “Time is of the essence, so I want our community to be on record with the governor that we oppose this.”
At the meeting, Commissioner Tom Mannix said he thinks passing the resolution sends a strong message, not only to Rauner but the entire Illinois General Assembly.
Commissioner Rory Hoskins said $700,000 is a lot of money and Forest Park needs every dollar it can get from state government to fund programs and services.
“If the money doesn’t come from the state, then we would have to find it somewhere else or reduce services,” Hoskins said.
The resolution will be sent to Rauner’s office in Springfield this week.
Calderone said he urges every community in Illinois to adopt a similar resolution.
“Every community should be doing it because they stand to lose revenue. Larger communities will lose millions of dollars,” Calderone said. “I can’t imagine any elected official who wouldn’t be in favor of this,”
With the governor’s proposal, Oak Park, for instance, is at risk of losing $3.1 million and River Forest would lose $600,000.
The loss for Oak Park would represent nearly 40 percent of the general operating revenue for the public works department, whereas the loss for River Forest represents nearly two-thirds of what it will spend this year on fire pension fund contributions.
Since the village hasn’t begun budget discussions yet, Forest Park hasn’t looked into any alternative options to avoid the $700,000 loss, according to Calderone.
But he said Forest Park still has time to come up with solutions.
“This is an initiative that Rauner needs to get through both the House and Senate down at Springfield. It would take every bit of summer to make it to the legislature,” Calderone said.