DeKALB – DeKalb Mayor John Rey and Fifth Ward Alderman Ronald Naylor traveled to Springfield on May 14 to defend their position on several issues threatening municipalities, including the instability of the local government distributive fund and rising pension costs.
Naylor and Rey represented DeKalb as part of the Metro West Council of Government’s annual Drive Down event, in which local mayors, aldermen and municipal staff travel together to Springfield to lobby on behalf of various causes.
“This is an important way to get the attention of lawmakers,” said Mary Randle, executive director of Metro West.
“By meeting them where decisions are made and bringing a big group, it lets them know where our needs lie.”
Rey and Naylor joined representatives from Kane and Kendall county communities in the office of State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to talk about the cash flow issues facing local governments.
Metro West members defended HB 961, which would require the efficient collection and disbursement of income and sales tax revenues to which local governments are entitled.
Rey and Naylor, along with DeKalb administrative intern Justyn Miller, also visited the office of state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, and spoke with State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley.
Metro West also spent discussion time with Gov. Pat Quinn and House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.
Metro West urged legislators to “control the costs of local government pensions” to prevent more taxpayer hardships, Randle said.
Rey, who was sworn in as DeKalb mayor on May 6, said he was pleased to begin his term by connecting with lawmakers in Springfield.
“These trips really help remind them what the municipal needs are,” Rey said.
“And when we show up in their offices together, it really makes an impact.”