UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Neither man nor beast is being spared as south suburban University Park copes with severe budget problems.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley has details on the how the village is cutting back.
The goats at University Park’s Riegel Farm are some of the 150 animals being shipped out. The farm stalls were cleaned out as the facility is shut down, just part of the village budget cuts.
Overall, out of 94 employees, 25 are being laid off. Acting Village Manager Johanna Townsend says the layoffs and cutting operational costs are being done, “so the village doesn’t go broke.”
The cuts are across the board and even public safety isn’t exempt. Fire Department reductions are still being finalized but police will lose three full-time officers and four part-timers without reducing basic patrols.
“The citizens will see the same level of police services that they’ve seen prior to the layoff and after the layoffs occur,” said University Park Police Chief John Pate.
The problem, by all accounts: years of fiscal mismanagement.
“If you know that you have an expenditure and you can’t afford this, then you just don’t buy it,” said Mayor Vivian Covington. “That’s what we’re doing right now. It’s a temporary fix.”
But the village remains mired in millions in long-term debt, with no quick fix for that.
“It took years for University Park to get here, it’s going to take years for University Park to get out of here,” Townsend said.
The cutbacks are aimed at keeping operations going until property tax revenue starts flowing into the village in May and June. After that, some employees will be re-hired, but not all.
Village officials admit they’ve been overstaffed for the amount of revenue they receive for years.