Truth in Accounting's Bergman finds it hard to fault Waukegan Mayor for city's $3.5 million deficit
Truth in Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman is in no hurry to condemn Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham for daring to propose a city budget where he so readily admits to a $3.5 million deficit.
“On the one hand, it’s almost welcoming that someone would be forthright enough to say how things really are,” Bergman told the Lake County Gazette. “It’s almost like a healthy dose of reality.”
Bergman hinted that he can also understand why the numbers have thus far been met with such minimal resistance from city alderman, given where he thinks the root of the problem truly lies.
“I guess it reflects the difficult operating environment in Illinois,” he added. “The state, city of Chicago and some of the largest metropolitan areas around have been challenged by the effects of past decisions made by government, but the day of reckoning is now here.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, even with its proposed total budget of $180 million, Waukegan is almost certain to run in the red this year with such factors as a flat property tax levy and falling sales and income tax revenues accounting for much of the debt.
“We’re seeing challenging ways in trying to generate revenue all over the state because taxpayers are leaving,” Bergman added. “The reality is that as a state we’re spending more than we’re taking in and kicking the can down the road. That will have major consequences for future generations and makes it difficult to have much hope going forward.”
With four new members slated to be sworn onto the Waukegan City Council in early May, Cunningham told the Tribune he doesn’t expect much about the city's financial picture to change between now and when the proposal goes to vote.