Galesburg Faces Budget Crisis - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg Faces Budget Crisis

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City leaders in Galesburg have less than 25 days to come up with a balanced budget. The deadline is Christmas Day and the city has a deficit of $600,000.

Galesburg city council members voted on a proposed natural gas tax hike on Monday night. Many residents thought that the council would approve the tax increase because it would have closed $600,000 budget hole. But the majority voted against it.

Now, it's back to the drawing board for Galesburg city leaders and they don't have much time.

"We can't tax our way out of it," said Jeremy Karlin, 7th Ward Alderman. "It's going to be a combination of some tough cuts."

The city is dealing with a deficit mainly because of growing pension contributions and because of a choice city leaders made to not raise property taxes this year. Some council members don't want to raise any taxes and would prefer to cut services and personnel.

But Karlin said the outcome will be a compromise and it won't be easy --

"Personnel cuts and in a town our size, when you're talking about cutting personnel, that has names and faces attached to it. That's not an easy thing to do."

Some aldermen have also expressed interest in starting some sort of budget reform. It would enable city leaders to begin the budget planning process much earlier in the year so they don't find themselves in the situation they're in now.

City council has scheduled three special meetings to come up with a plan for the current deficit. The first meeting will take place next week.

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