City Council News: City looks to police and fire pensions to slash deficit, mayor announces Sosnowski replacement
By Jim Hagerty
Cost-cutting was the main topic at City Hall Monday, Dec. 13, as the City Council voted 11-0 to amend the 2010 tax levy ordinance, which could save the city at least $1.5 million.
By amending the tax levy ordinance, the City of Rockford will align itself with Illinois’ police and fire pension reform bill, which is awaiting the governor’s signature.
If Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signs the bill, it will allow officials to reallocate the $1.5 million from the police and fire pension fund to part of the general fund set aside to help the city avoid laying off police officers and firefighters.
While the city is waiting on the governor’s signature, it is also waiting on local police and fire unions to announce voluntary concessions. About $800,000 is expected from the police union.
Concessions from firefighters have not been announced. Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) said he hopes the union will contribute, however, the city will work with what it has.
“Obviously I wish we had similar concessions coming from our firefighters. That’s not occurred. At this point in time, we can’t force the issue on it,” the mayor said.
The bill awaiting Quinn’s signature requires city police and fire pension funds to be 90 percent funded by 2041. According to city officials, Rockford is in the position to comply.
“What we are doing is taking $750,000 out of each levies for pension funds for police and fire and put that $750,000 into the levies for police protection and fire protection,” City Legal Director Pat Hayes said.
If police union concessions are realized, the city would save $2.3 million, which will help eliminate its $5.5 million deficit.
Council members did not vote on police and fire concessions.
Mayor appoints University of Illinois College of Medicine doctor to fill First Ward seat
Dr. Tim Durkee, an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, was nominated to fill the vacant First Ward council seat left by Ald. Joe Sosnowski (R). Morrissey introduced Durkee at Monday’s meeting.
Durkee will serve the First Ward until a new candidate is elected in April. Durkee has already announced that he is one of six Republicans vying for the post in the February primary.
Brian Jenkins Legerro submitted a petition Monday, announcing his candidacy for First Ward Alderman. Jenkins is running as an Independent.
Joe Sosnowski resigned from the Rockford City Council last month after being elected to represent Illinois’ 69th District in Springfield.
The Rockford City Council meets in open session every Monday at 6 p.m. Meetings are in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, downtown.
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