Editorials

Belleville should make like a magician and cut public body in half

Belleville aldermen sworn into office

St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson swears in Belleville aldermen elected in April during the City Council meeting Monday night.
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St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson swears in Belleville aldermen elected in April during the City Council meeting Monday night.

Four new faces joined a dozen familiar ones this past week as the new Belleville City Council took office. Each of the newbies had 15 new faces and names with which they needed to get acquainted.

Their job should be easier. They should only have to meet seven others.

That new city council should make it their mission to get cut in half. Belleville doesn’t need the duplication or the expense of 16 aldermen when eight would be just fine.

Each alderman is paid $11,086 a year, for a grand total of $177,376. They haven’t had raises since 2012, so how long until that cry goes out?

Cut them in half and you save $88,688. Chicken feed in a city that will spend $123 million this year, you say.

Well, that could put an extra police officer on the street, or save taxpayers a few bucks.

Eliminate the retirement benefits claimed by aldermen Jane Pusa, Johnnie Anthony, Ken Kinsella, Phil Elmore, Kent Randle, Joseph Hazel and Mary Stiehl, and there’s another $8,505 in taxpayer savings.

You lose little in representation. Even with eight aldermen, each aldermen would still represent only 10 percent of the folks an alderman in Chicago is tasked with serving.

So let’s start the new City Council terms with a pledge to control costs and maybe hire a cop.

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