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Service Jobs in Chicago’s Suburbs Facing Cuts

Posted on December 3, 2008

Many service jobs in Chicago‘s suburbs are being cut, and municipalities are bracing to see less tax revenue as the economy continues to dwindle.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a recent survey showed that 48 of 78 municipalities in the State of Illinois are planning to eliminate positions through attrition or layoffs because of budget restraints. Many officials, employees and residents are worried they will be directly affected by this.

In some places, such as Barrington and Orland Park, the cutbacks are going to affect how much public works employees can accomplish, including plowing and salting major roads, which could end up being a hazard to motorists. Barrington plans to lay off 13 employees and leave at least three jobs unfilled, resulting in a cut of about 10 percent of its workforce. Elgin, which laid off 16 workers last month, plans to cut 38 more positions through attrition and the elimination of unfilled jobs.

Chicago signed a two-year contract last year for salt purchases that locked in a price of about $40 per town, about $100 less than current prices. However, some people are still worried that budget concerns could affect how quickly snow is removed from the city’s streets.

“What you’ll see is … local government is usually one of the first industries to feel the pinch,” Dave Bennett, of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, said in the article. “And then it’s always among the last to feel the recovery as well.”

Other suburbs also are making cuts. Naperville, which is looking at a projected $5 million deficit, has cut some services such as extended hours for people to pay tickets and bills. Evanston plans to leave vacant positions unfilled and reduce its fleet of vehicles.

Service cuts in many places likely will include decreased brush pickup, street sweeping and tree trimming. In Rolling Meadows, the garbage collection fee is going to increase by 5 percent and the city will stop distributing 60 free garbage bags to each household.

In Wheaton, programs designed to repair alleys and build sidewalks near schools are about to be cut, and there also will be a reduction in road repairs. Aurora has put a hold on buying land for neighborhood parks and redevelopment projects because gambling taxes from casinos are down by $2 million. The Schaumburg Police Department has several vacancies, meaning officers assigned to traffic enforcement will have to perform other duties.

The state government itself is facing a potential revenue shortfall of $800 million for the 2009 fiscal year. Local governments will share in this, because 10 percent of the state’s income tax and 1 percent of its sales tax go back to municipalities.