Naperville City Council Considers Spending Cuts



It’s always more fun spending than trying to figure how to spend less. Governments tend to excel at spending, and fail miserably at cutting expense. Naperville city officials are in the midst of considering where to make spending cuts to help defray the $1.8 million budget deficit, and there are plenty of departments in the City of Naperville to choose from when looking at expenses. Those departments include:

  • Board Of Fire and Police
  • City Clerk
  • City Manager
  • Communication
  • Finance
  • Fire
  • Human Resource
  • IT (Information Technology)
  • Legal
  • Mayor and City Council
  • Police
  • Public Works
  • Riverwalk
  • Transportation, Engineering and Development

Each department is like its own little fiefdom, not really wanting to make cuts, and lobbying for either maintaining their current expenses, or hitting the trifecta with additional dollars.

Each department head pleaded their case to the city council at a recent workshop, almost as if they were presenting their personal annual review to their supervisor for a salary increase.

To the credit of the Naperville city council, one department (IT) was singled out as needing more dollars and support than they were requesting. As councilman Kevin Gallaher inferred, Naperville’s IT needs to modernize at least from ‘the ancient to the old’.

The city council looks prepared to make cuts to the other departments, however considering world events, and current situations within our country, they might want to think twice about cutting the budget for police and fire protection.

Additionally, Naperville’s legal department may need to be bolstered, not for the purpose of making residents lives more miserable, but the the probability of fending off more law suits including possible class action lawsuits. It’s been said that anybody can sue anybody for anything, which is true, and some of these cases look a little stronger than others.

The city council will also be looking at the ongoing issue of medical benefits, including dental, and vision for city council members. It’s interesting to note that aside from the mayor’s position, the only Naperville city council member taking medical, dental, and vision benefits is councilwoman Judy Brodhead. She is holding strong on keeping these benefits for herself.

Even if the council votes to forgo those benefits, it wouldn’t take effect until the year 2019, meaning Brodhead could be covered by taxpayers for another three-plus years, unless of course, voters decide to separate her from the council during the next election in 2017.

Show 6 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    I hate to pick on the fire department because the fire fighters are as individuals good honorable people. If, however, you look at how they have expanded their role over the past 10 years to not only include way to many fire houses and equipment but to respond to everything from minor car incidents and heart attacks to goose their response numbers plus who and what they send in responding; it can only be called feather bedding.
    They need to go back to basics and define a reasonable charter (to fight fires) and not try to be all things to all people. The same is true about the other city functions you mentioned. If our councilmen were serious about cost cutting it would be a no brainer and easy to do utilizing zero based budgeting.

    • It has been the accepted standard for all city fire departments, since the early 1900, to be a “fire and rescue” operation. So what you are dictating is the city of Naperville to take a giant 100 year step backward and limit the fire department to just “fire”. It is important to note that part of what has gotten Naperville ranked as the safest city in the US with a population over 100k for the last two years is the “rescue” part of the fire department’s mission. This step would cut cost but it would seriously damage the quality of life and safety standards of Naperville doing irreparable harm the the city’s image and brand. Saving $1.8 million at this expense simply is not justifiable by any standard or metric used.

      • Gerard H Schilling

        Like every good bureaucrat work expands in direct proportion to the people available to do it. The fire department keeps expanding its charter taking over functions and services rightfully done by other city agencies and which are redundant, overpriced and unnecessary. Now, if you don’t care how your tax dollars are wasted that’s ok by me but I do. BTW the city’s image is one of total fiscal irresponsibility and poor city management costing we tax payers inordinate amounts of money unnecessarily. They need to go to zero based budgeting and weed out the waste and redundancy.

        • The average Naperville resident pays less $600/year in property taxes to the city. That is $50/month to live in one of the safest, most senior and family friendly communities in this country. I challenge you to name one city with a population over 100k that cost less and rates better!

          • Gerard H Schilling

            Unlike you I don’t differentiate between ALL city and agencies within it like electric, schools, forest districts etc. and see them all as stealing from the poor tax payers to reword their cronies, buddies and relatives. Zero based budgeting and elimination of redundancies is the only thing that will save this city from mass migration out of it because they are killing their tax base.

  2. I guess I don’t understand. Isn’t Judy Brodhead employed by North Central College and don’t they have a benefits program? Assuming this is the case, shouldn’t the Council have a rule that if a full slate of benefits are available from a Council member’s place of employment, the taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill?

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