UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (WLS) --Several dozen University Park village employees will be getting their formal layoff notices Tuesday. The drastic cuts include the elimination of an entire village department.
Village trustee Paula Wilson described a government in chaos. The University Park Police Department was forced to cut seven officers - three full-time and four part-time - a reduction of more than 25 percent of the force, because of what Wilson says is a $22 million budget deficit.
"Mismanagement of funds, borrowing and never paying it back. Now we have a poor rating, and we can't borrow money," Wilson said.
The layoffs go beyond police, with 40-50 village employees getting a pink slip. The entire parks and rec department was forced to shut down...Closed indefinitely is the public-owned University Golf Club, as well as Riegel Farm, a popular petting zoo and nature complex. More than 100 animals now moved to a temporary shelter.
"Tomorrow when they get the letters will be devastating to a lot of residents who work for the village," Wilson said.
Wilson says she was elected last spring and that the fiscal crisis has been years in the making.
"I think we need help from the state, somebody to come and make sure the board is not making grave decisions that will put our village in a crisis," she said.
Wilson says there's no plan, as of now, to rehire any of the workers being let go. And she says the layoffs may not end here.