Lisle to put pension referendum on ballot

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Like most municipalities in Illinois, Lisle is struggling with escalating pension liabilities. From 2007 to 2009, Lisle's obligations to its police pension fund alone have increased by 21 percent.

Prompted by a letter from the Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus, the Lisle Village Board voted unanimously Monday to put a non-bonding referendum on the November ballot urging the Illinois Legislature to take steps to relieve the pressure on local governments.

"This is just to bring awareness to what the issue is," Mayor Joe Broda said introducing the measure.

While no one on the board disagreed that pension reform was a serious issue, Trustee Ed Young obtained a change to the wording of the resolution that touched on what many feel about the pension reform measures already implemented by the Legislature last spring: it's not enough.

The original wording proposed seemed to indicate that the reform sought by municipalities should be similar to the pension reform passed by the General Assembly in the spring session of the Legislature. "I vehemently disagree with that," Young said.

Young went on to say that the main problem in the pension system in Illinois is that the benefits are set in one place — the state Legislature — but funded in another — the local municipalities.

Moreover, the reform the General Assembly did pass failed to include police and fire and gave the Chicago Public Schools a three-year vacation from pension liabilities. "I don't want to tie their hands and say they have to do the same things," Young said.

The motion to place the referendum on the ballot passed unanimously with Young's changes.