Posts Tagged municipal budget deficit means layoffs

Possible layoffs coming to Matteson

The Southtown Star has an article  about discussions in Matteson that could result in layoffs for police offers and firefighters.

Matteson might be forced to lay off firefighters and police officers to address about a $9 million debt in the village’s main operating fund that has accumulated in recent years. Sales tax shortfalls continue to hit the village hard and have contributed to it running a budget deficit for several years, officials said Tuesday during a workshop session on the 2014-15 budget.

Trustees now have the task of slashing millions from the yearly operating budget, including possibly cutting 14 employees from the police and fire departments.

Matteson borrowed from other village funds to bolster its general fund for several years, which officials publicly acknowledged on Tuesday wasn’t the best accounting practice. The fund’s debt is expected to grow to more than $9 million by April 30, 2015, the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year.

For 2015, Matteson anticipates more than $17.2 million in revenue and a general fund that will run just shy of $16.4 million. However, officials believe that a balanced budget for next year won’t completely address paying back what’s owed to other funds.

The proposed budget is about $1.4 million less than the village’s current general fund budget, officials said. Most of the proposed reduction would come from cuts to emergency services personnel as well as the equivalent of 5.5 full-time and three part-time village employees.

Members of the village board’s finance committee on Tuesday examined overtime expenses in both fire and police departments, probing how payroll cuts could affect their services.

Matteson’s fire department is one short of a full staff, Fire Chief Edward Leeson said. Overtime expenses ran high this year due largely to having less than a full staff, he said, but the department expects to reduce overtime costs by 2015 from more than $300,000 to about $100,000.

The police department has 37 full-time officers, down from 41, Deputy Chief Michael Jones said.


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Layoffs coming to Carpentersville (update)

The Daily Herald has an article about a delay in laying off fire firefighters in Carpentersville:

Carpentersville has delayed the planned layoffs of two full-time firefighters while union officials discuss cuts they can make to save those jobs, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said Friday.

“I’m very optimistic that the firefighters union will help us find a solution to avoid the layoffs,” Rooney said. This action comes after the union met with Rooney on Wednesday to discuss the pending layoffs of the firefighters who were originally going to be let go March 28. There are 32 full-time firefighters, and the two at risk of losing their jobs have the least seniority.

Rather than work with a specific dollar amount, the union will instead make cuts from its recent contract and present the proposed savings to Rooney. The village board has final say and will vote on the new fiscal year budget April 1.

The extension gives the union time to consider what cutbacks it can take. Three years ago during contract negotiations, the union agreed to several concessions so the village would not lay off three firefighters. The concessions included reduced holiday pay, no salary increase during the first year of the contract and a reduction in overtime pay.

The union last fall agreed to another employment deal, which is what’s being reviewed.

“We are actively discussing our options with our members,” said Lt. Rick Nieves, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4790. “We are happy to see the village extend the timeline.”

Last month, Rooney announced staff cuts of the two firefighters and three other village employees to help plug a projected $429,000 deficit. Rooney said similar negotiations are also afoot with the union that represents the other three employees.

In the aftermath, firefighter Chris Scholl, a Carpentersville resident, publicly questioned whether the village is really in a financial bind and created an online petition to oust Rooney over what he calls his “poor management of village affairs.”

As of Friday afternoon, 114 people had signed the petition. Scholl said most of them have family members working in the village or are firefighters elsewhere.

thanks Dan

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Carpentersville firefighters upset over impending layoffs

The Daily Herald has an article about reaction to the upcoming layoffs in Carpentersville.

A routine agenda item in which Carpentersville officials paid off a significant amount of debt Tuesday has deepened the divide between the Carpentersville Fire Department and village officials.

Carpentersville officials announced their intention last week to lay off five employees, including two full-time firefighters, and to eliminate several positions as they work to close a projected $400,000 deficit in the upcoming budget. Officials expect to save at least $235,000 using those measures.

The union that represents the 32 full-time firefighters said it did not expect the cuts in the fire department, particularly after resolving a contract dispute with the village over scheduling issues less than two months ago. Union leadership is expected to meet with village officials Friday to discuss the pending layoffs that affect the two firefighters with the least seniority. As it stands, their last day is March 28.

Tuesday, the village board approved paying off the remaining $565,000 in general obligation bonds it took out in 2004 for roadwork and related projects.

While the final payment wasn’t due until December 2015, paying it off early saves $20,000 in interest, officials said. The money earmarked for that repayment can’t be used for anything else, including personnel, officials said.

But before the vote, Chris Scholl, a Carpentersville firefighter and resident, asked the board to rescind the layoffs until it has time to consider their potential ramifications to the village.

Not only has Scholl created a blog critical of the board and of Village Manager J. Mark Rooney, but he has circulated an online petition calling for Rooney’s immediate removal over what he calls Rooney’s “poor management of village affairs.”

“When looking at a $400,000 deficit that the manager has claimed … it appears very likely that that deficit is caused by the payment that you will be voting on tonight,” Scholl said. “Paying a debt that isn’t due and laying off employees to offset the deficit that it will create while claiming an economic hardship, doesn’t seem to be an honest way to do business.”

Retired Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt publicly took sides at Tuesday’s board meeting by sitting with the six firefighters in attendance. He hugged several firefighters before the meeting started but did not address the board. Union President Lt. Rick Nieves said Schuldt, fire chief from 1996 until 2013, attended Tuesday’s meeting without being asked.

Meanwhile, Rooney said he couldn’t decide whether Scholl’s budgeting knowledge was “a little suspect to say the least” or if he’s intentionally trying to confuse the public.

“They freely entered (into) that agreement,” Rooney said. “The village has every right to examine the needs of operation over the village and make these decisions, … but this campaign to misinform the public and claim something that is contractually allowed as something nefarious, it’s just not true.”

thanks Dan

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Layoffs coming to Carpentersville

The Daily Herald has an article about a budget shortfall in Carpentersville and subsequent layoffs:

Carpentersville officials have announced villagewide layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to help plug a projected $400,000 deficit.

The village intends to lay off two full-time firefighters, a part-time records clerk in the police department, a community service officer and a part-time ambulance billing clerk in the fire department, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said Thursday.

“At this time, this is all that I foresee,” Rooney said of the layoffs, adding that things could change depending on the state’s financial situation and declining sales tax revenues in the village. Carpentersville officials have not laid anyone off since 2011.

There is a chance the village could hire the two firefighters back, depending on the outcome of a federal grant for four additional firefighters. The village is amending its application by asking for two extra firefighters and money to keep the other two, Rooney said. Moreover, the union that represents the firefighters will fight to keep them employed, said Lt. Rick Nieves, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4790.

In addition to the layoffs, the village will not fill three part-time positions in the finance, IT and fire departments, Rooney said.

Two code enforcement officers in the community development department will be cross trained for two community service officer positions and do both jobs as a hybrid, Public Safety Director Al Popp said.

The two firefighters have eight years of combined service and are the least senior of the 32 in the department, Nieves said. Their last scheduled day is March 28.

The village expects to save between $235,000 and $245,000 with these moves and more money in subsequent years, Rooney said. Declining property values, the economy and increasing costs of union contracts are the reasons Carpentersville finds itself having to cut staff, Rooney said. The pending layoffs in the fire department come almost two months after the village and its full-time firefighters settled a contract dispute that primarily focused on staffing levels at the three stations.

If the union is unsuccessful at retaining those two employees, there would be 30 full-time firefighters and 28 part-timers in Carpentersville. “They claim that there’s a budget shortfall and we’re meeting with them again the seventh (of March) to look at the issues, like how this is going to actually affect the fire department,” Nieves said. “We’re very surprised (about the layoffs) after the recent (contract) issues we’ve had with them. We didn’t see this coming.” Rooney said the union had two chances during negotiations to save the firefighters on the verge of being let go, but instead chose to “protect the lieutenants’ pay and hours over protecting their two junior members.”

Nieves said he thought the language in the contract was already enough to protect the two firefighters.

Rooney said the layoffs will have no impact on the community’s safety, pointing to the current complement of fire personnel, mutual aid and the village’s capacity to use as many part-timers as they see fit.

thanks Dan

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Decatur to layoff 6 firefighters

The has an article about budget deficits in Decatur which will result in layoffs throughout several city departments, including the fire department.

City Manager Ryan McCrady said Friday that the city will cut 20 positions, including six firefighters, to close a $1.6 million gap in next year’s budget.

Twelve people are being laid off, and eight currently or soon-to-be vacant positions will be eliminated, McCrady said. The employees were notified this week, with the cuts to take effect near the end of the city’s fiscal year on Dec. 31.

All departments are likely to be affected, except for police, which typically does not spend its entire personnel budget, and water, which is funded separately by user fees, he said.

The deficit in McCrady’s budget proposal comes from a projection that revenues such as sales and food and beverage taxes will remain flat. Expenses continue to rise, including a 10 percent jump in pension costs.

In addition to the firefighters, the positions include two senior clerk typists, four clerk typists, a human relations officer, human resources training officer, plan examiner, plan development manager, senior long-range planner, a rehab construction specialist and two engineering technicians.

Four of the firefighter positions were vacant, McCrady said. The cuts will not result in closing any of the city’s seven fire stations, but they will mean more “brownout” procedures, when a fire engine is shut down. Instead of nine companies, the city will operate eight companies at a time, he said.

“If we had a situation where we had multiple fires going on at one time, there could be a higher response time to something, but it’s hard to say because you never know for sure what the situation is going to be,” McCrady said. “… I’m not saying it’s great to run eight companies. I’m not saying that’s optimum, but we do believe we can protect the city and operate in that way.”

At 490 employees, the city’s work force is already down from the 576 people it employed five years ago.

The city’s operating budget has taken more hits in recent years because of rising pension contributions. City council members have not wanted to raise property taxes to pay for the increases, though Mayor Mike McElroy recently said the city could not continue to cut forever.

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