The Rev. Joseph Tracy said he’s tired of going to funerals.
..."It’s open field day now," said Tracy, the pastor of Straightway Baptist Church here. "The criminals are going to run wild."
Gang activity. Drug dealing. Cold-blooded killing. Tracy worries that a decision to shrink the police force by almost 30 percent will bring more of everything.
The pastor voiced his concern on Friday at a raucous special City Council meeting at which East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced that the city will layoff 37 employees, including 19 of its 62 police officers, 11 firefighters, four public works employees, and three administrators.
Parks said the weak economy has robbed the city of badly need money. For example, revenue from the Casino Queen was $900,000 below budget expectations last year. There are no signs of improvement, Parks said.
Could expenses from the Aquatic Center come in $900,000 above budget?
"I want our citizens to know we have some of the bravest police officers and firefighters in the country," Parks said. "But we don’t have the money to pay them. We have to have fiscal responsibility."
Have Greensboro City Council Members and Guilford County Commissioners
lived up to their fiscal responsibilities?
..."The blood is on your hands," yelled Michael Hubbard, an East St. Louis police officer.
..."We don’t have the money," [Councilman Roy] Mosley said. "You lay off when you don’t have the money. The money’s gone."
...On Friday, the city approved a proposal to defer bond payments until next year in order to free up $500,000."