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TSPR Local

Spending Cuts Possible as Galesburg Looks for Cash to Fund Pensions

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T.J. Carson
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Aldermen delayed decisions on funding pensions to the FY17 budget to help balance the FY16 budget.

The current city budget for Galesburg went into effect just a couple months ago, yet aldermen are already starting the process of creating the next spending plan.  And they have already encountered a difficult issue.

City Manager Todd Thompson said the biggest concern is fully funding the city’s contributions to fire and police pensions.  The city needed around $3.4 million to fund the pensions for the current (FY 16) budget.  Projections revealed at Monday night's city council meeting show the city will need to contribute about $4.7 million dollars for FY 17.

Thompson said the city will have to use cost saving measures to try raising the additional $1.3 million. He said those measures could include layoffs.

“We looked at a broad number of options related to personnel in non-public safety departments.  We’re going to look at options related to public safety departments.  We’re also going to look at (consolidating) programs and services,” Thompson said.

Thompson used the Administrative, Public Works, and Community Development Departments as examples of what could be consolidated.

Thompson said everything is on the table in regards to cuts and layoffs.  He said those are preferable to raising revenues, given recent actions by the city council.

“Because we adopted the utility tax last year and raised property taxes a little bit a couple times to address pension costs, I don’t see revenues being a big part of the equation.  They may play some role in the end, specifically as it relates to fees,” Thompson said.

Aldermen will decide over the next few months what should and shouldn’t be cut.