Budget cuts could impact cities in southern IL - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Budget cuts could impact cities in southern IL

(Source: Rae Daniel, KFVS) (Source: Rae Daniel, KFVS)
MARION, IL (KFVS) -

The city of Marion is bracing to absorb the financial impact of proposed budget cuts.

Mayor Bob Butler says it could lead to some difficulties, according to the Illinois Municipal League.

"City leaders are trying to figure out how we will make this cut work in Marion, and it isn't looking pretty," said Marion Mayor Bob Butler. "The proposed reduction to the LGDF (Local Government Distributive Fund) would cut an immediate $800,000 dollars from our budget. If these cuts happen, we will have to make some tough decisions."

According to a news release from the Illinois Municipal League, Mayor Butler says the city budget is looking at a 1.5 percent cut across the board.

The cuts could impact street projects, storm water control projects and holding off on a number of purchases.

"I am committed to making sure this state funding cut to Marion does not result in a tax hike or layoffs," said Butler. "The tough part is that we have to pass our budget next week, as our new fiscal year starts on May 1, 2015."

Butler says they're preparing for this next city budget as if the $800,000 cut happens.

"We have to be ready in case this cut becomes reality, we are not taking a chance," said Butler.

Gov. Bruce Rauner suggested that some municipalities should be able to sustain this cut because they have a substantial amount of money in reserves.

Southern Illinois mayors in Carbondale, Carterville, Centralia, Crainville, Harrisburg, Herrin, Johnston City, McLeansboro, Murphysboro, Sesser, West Frankfort and Ziegler are all trying to figure out how they would manage their budgets.

Annual cut estimates include:

  • Carbondale - $1.25 million
  • Sesser - $97,000
  • West Frankfort - $405,009
  • Columbia - $480, 497

"We're doing some major infrastructure projects with sewer and water and all that takes money and if you take 97,000 dollars out of our budget, that's a big chunk for us," Sesser Mayor, Jason Ashmore said. "And it's going to have an adverse effect on the projects and us trying to help those small businesses expand and get started." 

"It's just something that we can't afford to lose," newly elected Carbondale Mayor, John Mike Henry said. "We've been making cuts over the last decade with not replacing folks,coming through the recession. We're in a pretty lean state right now, so it would be really difficult."

Brad Cole, executive director of the Illinois Municipal League, says they are seeing similar dire budgeting scenarios in municipalities across the state.

"We are keenly aware of the budget challenges facing the state, but the proposed cuts are misguided because Illinois municipalities have managed their LGDF revenue responsibly over the years. Municipal governments have been good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and many of them have kept rainy day funds to deal with tough economic times like we're experiencing now. The reality is that when fewer dollars are returned to local governments, we can expect layoffs and a ripple effect with local police and fire personnel. Municipalities are optimistic we can work with the legislature and administration to find a solution that works best for local communities and our state."

IML says Illinois towns have partnered with the state to maintain the LGDF since 1969 to fund core municipal services such as police, fire, roads, sidewalks, planning, zoning, public safety, water, sewer, public works and snowplowing, helping to keep local tax burdens lower.

For more information, please visit www.iml.org.

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