Alderman Robert Basso is joined by his wife, Patricia, in his swearing in ceremony by Palos Heights Clerk Thomas Kantas on May 2. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Alderman Robert Basso is joined by his wife, Patricia, in his swearing in ceremony by Palos Heights Clerk Thomas Kantas on May 2. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Straz concerned about millions in lost LGDF funds

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By Jeff Vorva

Other area mayors and boards/counsels have expressed concern over the state taking too big a bite out of Local Government Distributive Fund money, but Palos Heights officials had been mum publicly on the subject.

Mayor Bob Straz finally aired his concerns at the May 2 city council meeting over the promised 10% of state income tax earmarked for communities being sliced to 6 percent in recent years.

It became a hot topic in April when some mayors and community leaders went to Springfield to ask for some of the money back.

“In our case, we received $1.8 million last year,” Straz said. “If we would have received our full 10%, it would have been another $800,000. Over the last 10 years, since it’s changed, we’ve lost over $8 million in income.”

He added that the state is socking local communities with unfunded mandates including $80,000 to provide police cameras and other safety measures.

Alderman Michael McGrogan said that municipalities should threaten to stop giving permits for gambling or marijuana facilities and the state will lose revenue.

“That revenue is huge, as we all know,” McGrogan said. “Maybe there are things like that where you could say, ‘Which way do you want to go? Do you want to give it to us on a fair basis that you should have given us all of these years? Or else we can start cutting into the profit.’’’

Pilot clarification

At the April 18 meeting, the council discussed two pilot programs in which city employees and residents would get free use of recreation facilities.

The council voted on allowing the perk for the city employees however, the program for the residents is going through committee and could come before the council in the near future. It is not available at this time.

Welcome back

Re-elected aldermen McGrogan, Robert Basso, Jeffrey Key and Brent Lewandowski were sworn in at the end of the meeting.

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