NAPERVILLE - Money magazine voted the west suburban city of Naperville the second-best place to live in the U.S. in 2006. Seven years later, Kiplinger named it the top city for early retirement. Now the city could be a contestant for one of the most cost-cutting, frugal cities in Illinois.
In recent months, the wealthiest city in the Midwest - like most - is feeling the mounting pressure of paying for city employee benefits. The Naperville City Council cut cell phone and internet stipends for their members. They eliminated council member pensions. Now they're talking about cutting health care benefits.
Council members realize that it may not be fair for them to continue getting health care that costs the city in excess of $1000 per employee per month even though they do not work for the city in excess of 30 hours a week. Any other city employees that work less than 30 hours are considered part-time, and do not receive health care benefits.
Along with the health care benefit discussion is whether to keep paying the council members $12,500 a month, or work it into a package that would help subsidize private health care.
Council member Grant Wehrli, who's running for state representative in November, told the Daily Herald the conversation about cutting one's own benefits is awkward.
"It's difficult when talking about our own compensation to have an open and honest conversation," Wehrli said.
But if the math works out to show savings for the city, Wehrli said he would lean toward eliminating health benefits for future elected officials.