Governing Magazine: The Fiscal Firebomb Looming for Small Cities in Illinois

The southern Illinois city of Alton, population 28,000, has sold off its water treatment plant. The roughly $54 million it will clear from the sale will help pay down unfunded pension liabilities. Over in Kankakee, home to some 26,000 Illinoians and the Kankakee Community College, the municipal sales tax is increasing to help pay off that city’s pension tab. Its annual minimum pension contributions are eating up more than a quarter of its budget.

Like Alton and Kankakee, Harvey, Ill., is also struggling to make its mounting pension payments. But unlike those other two cities, Harvey’s economy is weak, it has no assets left to sell and its tax base is tapped out. Some 4,000 property tax bills have not been paid -- the most for any city in Illinois.  Click here to read more