City of Mt. Vernon faces $250k cut due to state budget provision

MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - City officials across Illinois are finding out how the new state budget affects their bottom lines, and leaders in Mt. Vernon say they are shocked.

New Mt. Vernon Mayor John Lewis called Wednesday a tough day for his city.

"Yesterday, I was frustrated by what we found out the state legislators had done to all the local municipalities," he said.

Lewis said he didn't expect his community to take a surprise blow from the state budget.

"We found out buried in the bill were provisions that took away money from the municipalities that we normally got each and every year," Lewis described.

The mayor said they set a balanced budget for the city on May 1 and these provisions in the state budget impact the cities bottom line that they didn't see it coming.

Lewis angrily said, "Now two months later we find out that this budget passed by the state of Illinois is going to take $251,00 from the state of Illinois."

Mary Ellen Bechtel, the city manager, said they have already cut $3 million over the past two years, and recently laid off seven people.

"That just puts more of a burden now on our citizens here in Mt. Vernon to try and stay where we were before they took the money away from us. So it's hard on everybody.  We are going to have to go deep to make up a quarter-of-a-million dollars," Lewis said.

According to Mt. Vernon officials, this is a lot of money and they will have to cut next, but they said it will not be any more layoffs.

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