Galesburg City Council discuss 2014 budget, possible layoffs in the future

The Galesburg City Council held an all day budget session October 11, 2013.

The work session was scheduled from 8:30-4:30 p.m., at City Hall, 55 W. Tompkins.

Earlier this week the city released a draft copy of the budget, which included a number of layoffs and more than 2.2 million in cuts.

The city wants to eliminate some police and fire positions as well as several admin positions.

Local residents of Galesburg showed up to the budget session to voice their concerns.

Diane Waller, former AFSCME President says Galesburg police help to fight crime on her block and she doesn’t want to see them laid off.

“I don’t think they need to cut the officers of the firefighters,” said Waller.

City Manager Todd Thompson says the cuts may not be easy but are necessary.

“I would like to avoid personnel cuts as much as possible but the fact is that 70 percent of our budget is made up of personnel expenditures and 45 percent of the budget is made up of the police and fire department.”

Tom Simkins, a firefighter with the Galesberg fire department, says he could lose 4 firefighters–leaving him with a unit of only 42.

“It’s tough to tellĀ  four of your guys with families that there going to be laid off, it’s not an easy thing, it’s tough on all the departments.”

Some people proposed the idea of raising taxes as an alternative to cutting jobs.

The City Council says raising taxes may not be the best solution because some people can not afford a tax hike.

The city doesn’t expect the 2014 budget to be adopted until late November, early December.

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