Archive for the ‘Pension Funding’ Category

Mas Fines

Illinois’ state and local governments collect some of the most fines and fees in the country on a per capita basis, a new study shows.

The Reason Foundation found that Illinois is second highest in the nation, averaging about $50 per resident in 2020. That is compared to less than $3 per resident in Kentucky.

In 2019, local fines and fees revenue accounted for less than 2% of pre-pandemic general revenue in all 50 states. The year 2017 is the most recent year for which local revenue data is available. During that year, 28,159 U.S. cities, townships and counties reported a total of nearly $5 billion in revenue from fines and fees after excluding jurisdictions without sufficient data.

Data for the study was obtained from the Census Bureau’s annual survey of state and local government finances.

“In Illinois, local governments retain a fairly substantial portion of the revenue generated by citations and traffic tickets within that jurisdiction,” said Vittorio Nastasi, director of Criminal Justice Policy with the Reason Foundation.

Nastasi notes that fines and fees have turned many courts into revenue centers for state and local governments, creating what he calls undesirable conflicts of interest.

Read more here.

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Switzerland Davos Forum

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is making free college a priority in his second term. Tuition is driven up by pension costs, which Pritzker routinely ignores.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is making affordable college a priority in his second term, but so far he’s ignored the surest way to ensure it can happen: pension reform.

“It’s also our obligation to make college more affordable by removing financial barriers. That’s why we need to bring down the cost of higher education. Since I took office, we’ve increased scholarships by more than 50%. Now let’s focus on making tuition free for every working-class family,” Pritzker said.

The biggest barrier to affordable college in Illinois is pensions. Rising pension costs push up Illinois tuition, forcing students to pay the difference.

Pension Costs Education

It’s why Illinois has the fourth-highest in-state tuition and fees for public universities in the nation at $14,455 a year. Pritzker boasts increased scholarships, but scholarships are like a coupon: they help people but do nothing to change the price tag.

Other big states keep their universities affordable. Public colleges in California, New York, Texas and Florida all cost under $9,000 a year for residents.

Read more here.

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Tonight is a meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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BCFPD Engine

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees meets tonight at 6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington. Topics for discussion and possible approval include:

  • Consideration and Possible Approval of an ordinance Establishing Charges for Emergency Ambulance Service
  • Resolution to Approve and Ratify the Second Addendum to the January 1, 2020 Agreement between BCFD and Paramedic Services of IL, and
  • Discuss Local Government Efficiency Act

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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VB Police Contract

Barrington has reached agreement on a new, three-year contract with its police officers. The deal gives officers annual 3% raises and allows the department to make lateral hires. (Daily Herald File Photo)

Barrington officials signed off this week on a new contract with the village’s police officers.

The agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #177 began Jan. 1 and includes 3% salary hikes for each of the three years of the contract. It was approved by the village board Monday.

Under the new contract, the new officers will start with a $76,620 salary. After six years, an officer could achieve the top pay of $109,977.

Police Chief Dave Dorn said Barrington’s recently acquired home-rule status enabled the contract to allow the hiring of “lateral” transfers — officers currently employed by another agency. Bringing in lateral transfers has advantages, he said.

“You can look at a broader applicant pool. You can speed up your testing process as well,” Dorn said.

Dorn said the agreement would have been negotiated quicker if wages had been the only focus. But contract talks also involved incorporating 12-hour shifts for patrol officers from a separate memorandum of understanding into the main contract.

More here.

Editorial note: Makes one wonder where we stand with our own Village Police agreement(s)?

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Illinois BudgetBy Bryce Hill | Illinois Policy Institute

New Illinois lawmakers who will be sworn into office Jan. 11 would serve their state well if they started their terms by providing overtaxed Illinoisans with economic relief.

Early into 2023, Illinoisans continue to pay many costs that residents of other states do not. Those costs include the highest cell phone taxes and second-highest property taxes in the nation.

Illinois’ excess taxes and fees further hurt the state’s families, who are already struggling to pay the ongoing costs of rampant, nationwide inflation. Lawmakers’ inertia on tax reform over time may be discouraging, but the new legislative session offers hope for change. New lawmakers looking to make a difference could do so by eliminating some of the unnecessary costs that make Illinois a less affordable place to live.

Here are three potential solutions Illinois’ leaders could pursue:

  1. End automatic gas tax hikes.
  2. Adopt hold-harmless pension reform to reduce Illinoisans’ property tax burden.
  3. Loosen regulations on small businesses.

Read Hill’s full editorial here.

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Former suburban superintendents Connie Collins and Brian Harris, now with the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, will lead the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 search for a new superintendent. (Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer)

A Schaumburg-based national educational executive search firm will help find Superintendent David Schuler’s replacement in Northwest Suburban High School District 214.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will be paid a fee equal to 20% of the new superintendent’s salary, as part of a search led by consultants Brian Harris, the retired Barrington Area Unit District 220 superintendent, and Connie Collins, the retired Round Lake Unit District 116 superintendent.

The fee also includes the recruitment and placement of an interim superintendent to oversee the district after Schuler leaves in mid-February, when he’ll become executive director of AASA, the national school superintendents association.

Schuler, who has overseen the state’s second-largest high school district for 17 years, was paid a base salary of $175,000 in his first year and makes $335,344 today. Using that salary range for his replacement, the search firm could stand to earn anywhere from $35,000 to $67,000.

A new superintendent could be selected by May — in time for the start of the new school year — under a preliminary timeline presented to the school board this week by Harris and Collins.

The search firm won’t charge for the consultants’ travel or meal expenses, but the school board can pay extra for national advertising, for third-party background checks into candidates’ court and financial records and transcript verification, as well as travel expenses for finalists brought on site, Harris said.

Read more here.

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11.22 BOT

Our Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of their agenda can be viewed and downloaded here, however residents should take special note of their draft 2023 Budget, particularly as it relates to Roads & Bridges where at least one expense is up over 100%.

By far one of the largest increases is in, “Road Maintenance Contracts.” This year’s budget is $661,000. But the proposed amount next year is $1,059,200. That’s an increase of $398,200.

“Mowing/Cleanup Contracts,” is going from $70,00 this year to more than double that in 2023 at $150,000.

In an effort to understand the underlying reasons for these and other increases, we listened to the recordings of the nearly two (2) hour November 8th Special Meeting of the Roads & Bridges Committee yesterday.   What we found revealed largely incoherent rambling (as usual) by the chair.  As of this posting, the audio now states, “Unsupported audio,” as seen in this link, unfortunately, but some who heard the recording might consider this a blessing.

Hopefully this evening we’ll learn why such exorbitant roads increases are being proposed, but beforehand we’d like to share some advice with the Roads & Bridges Chair in the form quote from a famous Thanksgiving movie that goes, “…when you’re telling these little stories, here’s a good idea. Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!

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The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, long-maligned by a reputation for mismanagement and politically motivated hiring, is taking a gamble on the November ballot: It’s asking voters to hike their own property taxes to give the district an annual budget boost of $40 million.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her hand-picked Superintendent Arnold Randall unveiled a revamp of the district in 2014, but a tax hike was deemed a political non-starter after decades of damaging headlines. Most focused on sweeping patronage accusations (later curbed by court monitoring), but also neglect and financial mismanagement as well as smaller-scale scandals, such as an aquatic center where workers pocketed payments and gave minors alcohol.

A referendum question for voters across the county will ask their permission for a 0.025% increase above the current state-mandated Property Tax Extension Limitation Law cap for the district, bringing the limit to 0.076%.

What does it mean for your bill? Right now, the owner of a median-priced home pays $36 to $47 in property taxes per year to the district. If the referendum passes, the increase for an average homeowner would be less than $20 a year, or about $1.50 per month, according to the district.

The revenues are not yet earmarked, but FPDCC Chief Financial Officer Stephen Hughes told the Tribune its current plans are to spend roughly $7.3 million to buy more property, $6 million for facility maintenance, $6.3 million for land restoration and $9.7 million for pension payments. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and Brookfield Zoo, which both stand on FPDCC land, would get $2.4 million and $4 million, respectively, for capital maintenance.

Even the often tax-averse Civic Federation is in support of a “yes” vote on the referendum. President Laurence Msall is among advocates who argue the district has earned the right to ask for the extra cash after cleaning up its act. A right-sized workforce, cuts in expenditures and improvements in planning are all signs of improved management and oversight.

“But important to this referendum is that the Forest Preserves has a reasonable plan that has been vetted” by outside groups, Msall said.

More here.

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BCFPD Pepper

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees meets tonight at 6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington.  A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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