Dolton on verge of bankruptcy

May 28, 2013 3:36:41 PM PDT
Board of trustees at the village of Dolton voted to borrow money from an account set up for development to pay its employees and bills.

"The reality is that today all of our bank accounts are empty," Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers said of the village.

Swimming in red ink and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. That's how dolton's newly elected administration describes the village's finances.

"Every year for over ten years they've been overspending what they budgeted, one, two, three, four million dollars year. Well the chickens have finally come home to roost," Clem Balanoff, transition village manager, said.

In an emergency board meeting today, trustees voted to borrow money from a village tiff fund just to make this week's payroll. It's no secret that the south suburban village has struggled for years. Businesses have remained shuttered and people have moved out, leading to a drastic decline in revenue. Add to that years of mismanagement and corruption.

"Luxury cars that were bought that were never brought before the board. Just spending at will," Mayor Rogers said. "We've reached out to the sheriff's department. They will assist us in making moves in regards to investigations that need to be done."

The new mayor says the village faces some tough decisions ahead. Layoffs in key city departments, including fire and police, as well as new taxes are all but certain. They're also looking at possibly selling the Melanie Fitness Center and the Dorchester, a 126-bed senior home which has cost the village several million dollars over the last few years and is only at 50-percent capacity. For those who live and work in Dolton, the problem is clear.

"I'd like to see them bring in some other businesses, which brings in other people and then, hopefully people may be able to afford to live out here again," Carl Denoms, businessman, said.

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