Excerpts from the Chicago SunTimes:

Facing strong public opposition to sharp cuts in its police and fire departments, trustees in south suburban Matteson voted 4-2 Monday night against the downsizing.

Village President Andre B. Ashmore said he spoke out against the layoffs because he was “concerned for the community and public safety . . . making sure it’s well-protected.” “We’re not going to be able to cut our way out of this. We’re going to have to look for alternative sources of revenue,” Ashmore said. One possibility, he said, would be “selling a major asset, like the water system.”

With a looming budget deficit of nearly $8 million, the village had been considering trimming 13 police officers and eight firefighters — about 40 percent of the police department and a third of the fire department.

Veloid Cotton Sr., was one of the two trustees who backed layoffs, saying he saw nowhere else to cut back. “I haven’t seen anything to make up the difference,” he said Monday night. “Come 2017, we’re not going to be able to pay the bills.”

Starting in 2017, Matteson is facing a tab for bond payments on a community center voters had rejected twice in advisory referendums. Village officials built it anyway, going into debt on the $25 million facility that opened in 2010.

A few days before Monday night’s packed meeting at village hall, the chief of the fire union lambasted municipal fiscal decisions. “They mortgaged the safety of the community for a community center,” firefighter Scott Gilliam told the Better Government Association.