The Illinois Municipal League says automatically paying cities pass-through money and lowering the population threshold for communities to self govern on things like taxes, licensing and public health, are the most important proposals from a package of proposed reforms.
Of the nine proposals in IML’s “Moving Cities Forward” package, Barrington Village President Karen Darch said ensuring municipalities get their non general revenue funds during a budget impasse will keep money for cities out of the political process.
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“Which we know from last year can delay distribution,” Darch said. “Automatic appropriation eliminates the budget entanglements for these non-general revenue funds.”
This past year cities waited nearly 6 months to get owed funds from the state.
Meanwhile Lynwood Mayor Gene Williams said lowering the population threshold from 25,000 to 5,000 for home rule status by granting additional governing abilities like changing taxes or licensing regulations.
“Illinois taxpayers expect solutions to financial and operations challenges facing their communities,” Williams said.
Other proposed reforms include changes to workers’ comp, local control of prevailing wage and also what IML says would add transparency and ensure a city’s fiscal realities are part of public safety binding arbitration.
Darch said non-elected arbitrators must take into account the fiscal health of a city before deciding on a contract that may be at impasse.
“Currently (the arbitrator) does not have to consider the actual financial resources of the community,” Darch said. “So a 4 percent award when the community can only pay 2 percent is problematic.”
Unlike the state, IML Executive Director Brad Cole says cities continue to work for solutions.
“Mayors don’t have the luxury of pushing off these issues,” Cole said
Cole said the package reflects real solutions they hope to see implemented to help cities better manage taxpayer resources.