Abu-Taleb vs. Hedges: fiscal troubles

At the March 1 forum at the Carleton Hotel, village board presidential candidate Anan Abu-Taleb dropped info about Oak Park’s finances that deserved a response from candidate John Hedges. But the response was weak.

The village is $100 million in debt, said Abu-Taleb, and has a meager 58% funded of its $126 million in pension obligations, including fire and police pensions, whose shortfall last year rose from $105 million to $106 million.

Pension funds had negative balances in seven of the last 11 years, for what he called a structural deficit. Village staff tells him the village is planning on its funds earning an unrealistic 8% annually, he said.

Hedges, who has been a village trustee since 2007, implicitly conceded the accuracy of the figures, which are backed up aggressively by a Better Government Assn. report, but surprisingly dismissed them. “The big issue is the property tax,” he said. “Our finances are in fine shape.”

This was their first time on the hustings in this campaign, which ends April 9, and Hedges has time to recoup. But it was not a promising start for him.

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  • By Oak Park Newspapers on March 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    […] Oak Park have a pension problem, as candidate Anan Abu-Taleb said in the March. 1 Carleton Hotel forum, saying the village should go to the police and fire fighters and negotiate […]

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