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Champaign Mayoral Candidate Introduces Budget Plan

At a time when Champaign's city council is considering cuts to the police and fire departments, a candidate for mayor suggests cutting in other areas of city staff.

Don Gerard unveiled his own proposed budget at last night's city council meeting. He suggests $380,000 could come from reducing positions in the finance and the city manager's office.

"They are working for us," Gerard said. "I propose cuts in legal, I propose cuts in information technology, I think those are completely reasonable. If we're going to cut firemen, why we can't cut another lawyer, and we did our homework on these types of things.

Gerard also wants 13 of the highest paid employees to take a 10-percent salary cut, exempting the police and fire departments. He said those include the city manager, finance director, city attorney, and the director of the Champaign Public Library. His plan also suggests that the city refinance its more than $40-million pension debt, paying it off at a lower interest rate in 20 years instead of 10.

Gerard contends the pension plan will produce savings of about $11-million in three years. He is running against longtime mayor Jerry Schweighart in April.

(Photo courtesy of Don Gerard)

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics