Peoria County could ask unions to re-open contracts amid budget issues

May 4, 2015

Credit Peoria Public Radio / Tanya Koonce

Peoria County is considering whether to explore re-opening current union labor agreements to help save money this year.  The issue comes amid looming state budget cuts:

 Expenses are outpacing revenues in the county general fund this year by more than $400,000 and Governor Bruce Rauner is calling to cut local-government income tax revenues.  Those were among the factors why Board chairman Andrew Rand says he supports looking to re-open wage percent hikes built into the County’s bargaining units:

 “We ought to understand what a zero-percent change in those contracts looks like over one year, or a one-percent change or a two-percent change, so that people don’t just look at it wondering how much is it costing us.”

 Acting County Administrator Scott Sorrel says the county’s general fund is declining this year:

 “We have three-percent expense growth and two-percent revenue growth. So that’s a gap of one-percent. How do we close that gap?”

 Rand says another concern is Rauner’s proposal to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for local nursing homes. He says that would cost the County-run Heddington Oak facility $750,000.