Village of Lyons passes budget, addresses potential cuts to police department
LYONS – The Lyons Board of Trustees voted Wednesday evening at their regular board meeting to pass the village's 2014 budget.
"We're bringing spending in line in a sensible way," Village President Chris Getty said about the budget after the meeting. "At the same time we're doing it in a way that won't reduce safety."
The budget was passed with little discussion from the board, except for Trustee Patti Krueger, who was the lone vote against the budget's passage. Kreuger said that there was not the same level of public and board input on the budget as in the past, due to little opportunity for the board and public to discuss the budget before it was brought for a vote.
The village of Lyons publicized the the budget's availability for review 10 days before the meeting, which was announced in the Desplaines Valley News and was made available to the public at the Village Hall, but was not posted on the village's website or otherwise distributed.
Area police, union members attend pre-budget meeting to show support for police department
A pre-budget hearing at Village Hall prior to the regular board meeting provided an opportunity for public comment on the budget, which will cut $1 million from the police department's budget.
Public comment at the pre-budget hearing centered around the potential for seven police officers to be laid off, as well as the village's eight dispatchers, as the village is considering contracting their dispatching services with a private communications agency. The village is currently in negotiations with the unions.
"In this day and age public safety should be at the forefront, especially with the ongoing violence here in Lyons, the city of Chicago and all around Cook County," said Dan Mahoney, of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council.
Mahoney said, that in contrast to Lyons, other area police departments are hiring more officers.
Getty said he took offense to statements about crime in Lyons at the meeting and attributed them to being a part of labor negotiations with the uninon.
"We've reduced crime as a whole," Getty said. "We don't have much major crime."
He added he found it interesting that only one Lyons resident spoke at the hearing about the cuts to the department. Richard Gatz, a Brookfield resident, addressed the board stating he was there in support of Lyon's police officers and was concerned that cuts to the department would mean police officers in Brookfield would be required to come to the aid of the village, putting his four children at risk.
Lyons resident Toni Parker asked the board why there was money for events, but not for public safety.
Trustee Krueger echoed those statements before the board's vote.
"We have money for parties and picnics and raises [for the Village Board]," Krueger said. "But there's no money for our police?"
In the end, the board passed the budget 4 to 1. Trustee Pat Alonzi was absent at the meeting.