Tonight Oak Lawn Village Board members will gather around a table for an adult discussion about the proposed 2014 municipal budget.
Like many communities throughout Illinois, Oak Lawn faces a hefty pension liability debt for its police, fire and municipal employee funds, which are legislated in Springfield. Municipalities pay the mandated pension liabilities through their local budgets.
Oak Lawn faces an $8.7 million budget deficit in fiscal 2014, which runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. More than half of the deficit is unfunded pension liabilities, or what the village is required to cover for future retiree pensions.
State law requires also requires municipalities to pass balanced budgets by the end of the year. In other words, no red allowed.
The village board’s first task at hand tonight: trim the excess and increase revenue streams without having to resort to laying off employees, cutting resident services or raising property taxes.
Another option available to the mayor and trustees is “kicking the can down the road” by avoiding making the recommended contributions to employee pension funds to bring them in compliance with the state-mandated funding requirements.
The special village board meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Oak Lawn Village Hall, 9466 S. Raymond Ave.
Residents are encouraged to attend, although we recommend buying a cup of strong coffee on the way as the meeting is likely last awhile.
As the mayor, trustees and other village officials roll up their sleeves, here are some numbers to ponder:
- Oak Lawn’s projected budget deficit for 2014: $8.7 million.
- Preliminary projected 2014 municipal budget covering day-to-day operating expenses such as salaries, infrastructure, equipment and resident services: $53,800,794.
- “Real” total expenditures spent by village in 2013, including unfunded pension liabilities: $59,449,844.
- Projected 2014 revenue including sales, income, property and other taxes, services and fines: $50,719,927.
- Negotiated fee (“payment in lieu of taxes”) and construction permit fees that not-for-profit Advocate Christ Medical Center will pay to village (through January 2016): $2.033 million.
- Unfunded pension liabilities for police, fire and municipal employee retirement funds: $128 million.
- Recommended contribution to police, fire and village pension liabilities: $5.034 million.
- Average retirement age of village police officer, firefighter and municipal employee: 55 years.
- Average life expectancy for a retired village employee based on actuarial estimates: 85 years.
- Unfunded post-employment healthcare costs for non-Medicare eligible retirees (police, fire, village): $28.391 million.
- Amount of police and fire pensions based on state-legislated formulas: 75-percent of salary at time of retirement.
- Projected overrun of firefighter overtime costs in 2013: $2 million estimated.
- Number of fire personnel down by attrition due to retirement or resignation: 25.
- Taxpayer’s cost per Oak Lawn household for unfunded obligations and bond debt: $13,704.
- Annual CODA or cost of living increases for retirees: 3 percent.
- Estimated cost of annual medical and dental insurance premiums for part-time elected village officials, including Mayor Bury and Trustees Tim Desmond, Alex Olejniczak, Bob Streit and Carol Quinlan (Clerk Jane Quinlan and Trustee Terry Vorderer participate in dental plan): $73,455.72.
This story has been updated.