Editorials

Swansea taxpayers may expect to find less is a little more

Swansea police pensions need $1.03 million and fire pensions need $208,325. Both amounts are significantly more than initially anticipated and have the village seeking $356,000 in new money.
Swansea police pensions need $1.03 million and fire pensions need $208,325. Both amounts are significantly more than initially anticipated and have the village seeking $356,000 in new money.

Swansea village property taxpayers are likely in for a jolt, with the cold comfort being things would be worse if they lived in Cahokia or Belleville.

The village is facing a $356,000 bill for police and firefighter pension funds. The options are to raise property taxes, cut other spending or figure out a new revenue stream — likely a tax by another name.

The State of Illinois mandates that Swansea pay the bill to keep the pensions adequately funded. If the village refuses, the state can take other money away to pay the bill.

The village newsletter notes: “More than a few elected officials at the local level find it ironic that Illinois can so diligently mandate local pension compliance, while many consider the State’s own pension funds to be a ‘disaster.’”

They would be referring to the state’s $111 billion, worst in the nation unfunded state pension liability.

Ironic?

There may be more accurate, but saltier, adjectives for what Springfield has done.

As far as Swansea, they have yet to decide on cuts or hikes or a mix. They are preparing property taxpayers by saying the median home valued at $162,300 paid the village $349. It would have been about triple that in Belleville or 10 times that in Cahokia for the same services.

So be happy for what you’ve had, but expect to pay more for the same in the future.

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