To the Editor:
According to the City of East St. Louis’ Freedom of Information Officer and City Clerk Dorene Hoosman, only 34 (18%) of the city’s 184 employees live in the City of East St. Louis. The residency statute requires that employees establish residency within six months unless they have a waiver.
The Civic Alliance requested copies of all residency waivers issued and none have been received to date. We do not believe there are any to receive because no one is enforcing the residency policy. I guess we can call it the “Payday Raid.” Nonetheless, we are glad that there is a city residency policy unlike District 189 where the residency rate is likely in the single digit percentages.
In 2012, the City personnel budget was $9.19 million and over 80% ($7.5 million) of that was exported to other nearby communities. If the 150 or so city employees actually lived here, the City would collect at minimum property taxes on an additional 150 houses of approximately $1,250 each for additional revenue of at least $187,500.00 plus sales taxes.
City employees living in Missouri are especially problematic when it comes to creating a sustainable local economy because the City and the State of Illinois both lose any chance to recoup sales, income or property taxes to pay future salaries.
Please call Mayor Parks at 618-482-6601 and ask him to enforce residency as a way of increasing his precious revenue instead of creating new, onerous fees and fines that drive more good people away.
Matt Hawkins, President
Civic Alliance of East St. Louis