A state representative said Monday the embattled city of Harvey isn't alone in its inability to meet the state's pension demand--and it should strongly consider bankruptcy.
Since the state withheld tax money to Harvey--a consequence for not paying into the pension system--firefighters and police officers have been laid off. Other cities--from Burbank to Niles to Maywood are in very similar financial straits. With boarded up businesses on the main street there's no denying the financial troubles facing the town of Harvey. Might city leaders turn to bankruptcy? Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives says it's more than likely.
"Bankruptcy is the only way out," she said.
When the state withheld tax money -- Harvey's mayor laid off 18 of 67 firefighters and 12 of 81 police officers. Harvey has not kept pace with pension payments for more than 10 years.
"Forty-two retired Harvey firefighters have saved a collective $1.42 million but have already collected nearly $25 million in retirement," Ives said.
The Appellate Court of Cook County overturned Monday a prior decision of the Cook County Circuity Court and will now grant a temporary restraining order against the Illinois State Comptroller regarding the hold of $1.4 million from the city of Harvey.
Residents say raising taxes is not an option. Just ask Jeffery Coleman who had to give up his restaurant in the south suburbs because of high property taxes.
"My property taxes were $80,000 a year," he said. "How many hot dogs can you sell?"
Harvey's Mayor Eric Kellogg released a statement say "we will not entertain any conversation concerning the filing of bankruptcy."
Ives lost her race for governor -- but not her voice.
"I'm here because these residents don't have a voice," she said. "Nobody's standing up for them."
Harvey is not alone. Keep an eye on North Chicago -- they've also fallen behind in pension payments.