Bill McCarty

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Pension payments are the biggest financial challenge facing Springfield. At Wednesday’s first city budget hearing, officials agreed on that much, but argued over what to do about it.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Many cities across Illinois are struggling to meet required police and fire pension payments. In Springfield, every dollar homeowners pay in real estate taxes goes right back out to cover that cost. Next year, as payments grow, the city needs to come up with an additional $1.5 million dollars.

Katherine Johnson / CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

Planning for the state fair is in full swing, but Illinois has yet to pay all the costs for last year’s fair.

The state still owes the city of Springfield around $109,000 for the fire protection it provided to the fairgrounds in the fiscal year that ended last summer. The same amount for the current fiscal year is due by June.

Springfield budget director Bill McCarty says the fire department will continue to provide protection regardless, but late payments do present challenges.

springfield.il.us

The company that manages Springfield's workers comp caseload wants to go outside the county for a key hire.  City aldermen questioned that move last night.

The contract with Triune Health Group says the nurse representative it used must be in Sangamon County.  The company says the job is highly specialized and it can't find anyone within the county who is qualified.

Instead, the firm wants to use a nurse in Macon County.  Some aldermen at the committee of the whole meeting were left scratching their heads, since the Springfield area has a wealth of healthcare workers. 

illinoispolicy.org

A conservative think tank recommends the City of Springfield switch its employee pension system to a 401K style plan rather than a defined benefit.

"First and foremost you need to make sure the data is pure." -- Budget Director William McCarty

The Illinois Policy Institute presented aldermen data that indicate the city of Springfield has the worst funded pension system among larger cities in the state.