Layoffs May Come For Over 70 Waukegan City Employees

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (STMW) — More than 70 city employee positions are on the chopping block under a budget proposal in north suburban Waukegan made public on Monday that forecasts the city facing a $8.7 million deficit for the 2011-12 fiscal year, with $108.4 million in expenses running high against $99.7 million in revenue.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The positions facing the ax include 15 police officers, 10 firefighters, five custodians, three laborers, three maintenance workers, three fire department lieutenants, two fire department captains, two police lieutenants, two police sergeants and a deputy police chief.

According to documents released Monday, the employee reductions would amount to a savings of $5.1 million in wage and benefit costs. All told, 43 full?time and 30 part?time positions proposed for elimination would bring the city’s total workforce reduction since 2009-10 to 260 employees.

Among the features of the budget proposal, which is available for public review online at, or in hard-copy form at both the Waukegan Public Library and the city clerk’s office:

Property taxes available for general corporate purposes are projected to decline by 74 percent, or $6.6 million, to $2.3 million, which the report notes is “based on the levy adopted by the City Council.” In late December, aldermen voted to adopt a zero-growth tax levy that froze property taxes.

Some taxes are forecast to produce more revenue in the coming fiscal year. For example, the special home-rule sales tax enacted in 2002 for such things as downtown and lakefront redevelopment is expected to increase 29 percent, or $1.1 million, to generate a total of $5.2 million. The 1 percent tax on prepared food and package liquors is expected to generate $600,000 in new dollars.

The city’s contribution to the police pension fund is $5.6 million, which is $2.1 million or 59 percent increase over the prior year. The city’s contribution to the fire pension fund is $4.07 million, a $1.5 million or 56 percentincrease over the prior year. The report added that, according to an independent actuary, both funds are “considered to be in relatively poor financial condition.”

One proposed addition to the employee ranks would be that of a coordinator for the Genesee Theatre, who would be paid $67,000. The report states that the facility “has not had the benefit of a direct oversight from one individual on the city staff to ensure the city’s best interests are being met by the theatre’s operations. Therefore, this position will provide the missing link between the city leadership, staff and citizens and the private management of the theatre.”

With the new fiscal year beginning May 1, the city has scheduled two information sessions in advance of the budget’s adoption by the City Council. The meetings are slated on April 9 and April 16, in both cases starting at 10 a.m. in the council chambers, 100 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

In Monday’s report, administrative officials stated that “by submitting this document to the public, aldermen and other city stakeholders a month in advance of public hearings, it is the administration’s goal to further the planning process by shaping the city’s goals and objectives in a time of strained resources.”

Mayor Robert Sabonjian told the City Council on Monday night that he’s been told that “people claim we’ve been lying (about) how much money we have … I find it egregious at the very least to find out people are saying these things.”

“I’m hoping that (these) unfair accusations stop,” Sabonjian added. “Since I’ve been in office, we’ve provided more (financial) information, made it easier to understand and put more information on the (Internet) than any other administration before us.”

–Lake County News-Sun, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

  • Retired

    Lay off police and fire fighters. They then need to put it in paper that they are opening this area for drug pushers and gang members.
    This so called mayor needs to wake up and cut some of those higher do nothings setting around get fat,

  • happy

    THE US is the land of cuts.

  • The Truth

    One proposed addition to the employee ranks would be that of a coordinator for the Genesee Theatre, who would be paid $67,000. Add atleast another 10K for benies to that figure also!!!

    Maybe if they weren’t paying this money for this type of position, they wouldn’t be in trouble!!! Hey laid off public sector employees!!!! Thank your unions and their silly demands for your plight!!! I’m sure a janitor is making $30 + per hour with benies figued in, and he can’t touch that broom for anything under a minimum 4 hr. show up time either!

    Don’t slam me about the cops and fire, I support them, just not the other worthless overpayed public sector workers. But the cops and fire can also thank them for being laid off.

  • marty

    Why are the mayor, city clerk, and city treasurer budgeted to receive raises through the year 2012?

  • happy citizen

    Waukegan has eliminated 219 positions since 2009, and I have not seen any change in the level of service provided by the City. My hat’s off to management who saw the waste, eliminated it, and managed the remaining work force well enough to do the same work with fewer people. Too bad it wasn’t done earlier.

  • John

    The mayor is a full time position but how much are the aldermen paid and what perks do they get free? The alderman job is a part time position and as such they should take the first hit in pay if they are freezing pay and laying off workers. Also apparently no one from city hall staff is being laid off – why not?

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