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  • Megann Horstead

City of Joliet in talks with labor unions to address impact of COVID-19 to budget


As the impact of COVID-19 to the local economy continues to loom large, the city of Joliet has made contact with the labor unions proposing a way to address its budget shortfall.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the Joliet City Council was briefed on the financial outlook of the city.

Interim City Manager Steve Jones said the city is preparing for the worst.

The city is facing a roughly $12 million to $20 million shortfall because of COVID-19’s impact to, among other things, revenue generated by sales, hotel/motel and gas taxes.

Jones said the ultimate losses of revenue are unknown because of how the state of Illinois allocates shared revenue to municipalities.

The city has received state funding for January through March, to date.

Jones said he predicts the city won’t begin to realize the full extent of revenue losses until late summer or fall.

The city finds it has identified $9.1 million in spending cuts, officials said.

Jones said the city is also eying the idea of a 3.85% temporary cut to all employee salaries, of which 89% are union jobs and 11% are management/administrative positions.

“It would be a way to equalize the sacrifice,” he said.

The city is awaiting word from the unions as to how it perceives the temporary salary reduction proposal.

If approved, the effective date for reducing salaries is June 5.

If the unions do not agree, Jones suggested the city would turn to furloughs.

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