City of Joliet 2024 budget adds 15 city jobs

Council OK’d budget Tuesday in 7-2 vote

Joliet City Hall, Municipal Building. Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 in Joliet.

The 2024 city of Joliet budget makes room for 15 additional jobs, including a deputy city manager to assist the new city manager who will arrive next month.

Joliet also would hire a communications director, a position the City Council has refused to fill in recent years.

But the council on Tuesday approved a $642 million budget that would fund both positions.

The budget also includes about $23 million for road and sidewalk repairs, $14.6 million for the downtown city square and Chicago Street redesign projects, and almost $96 million for an ongoing project to replace all water mains built before 1970.

The added jobs were the topic of some discussion after the council approved the budget in a 7-2 vote.

The 15 positions would be added to a staff of about 950 full-time employees.

“There are too many new positions in this budget,” council member Larry Hug said in explaining his dissenting vote.

District 1 Council Larry Hug sits in on a hearing on the validity of nominating petitions of two City Council candidates at the Joliet City Electoral Board meeting on January 4th.

Council member Suzanna Ibarra also opposed the budget but did not comment on her vote.

Hug in the past has opposed adding a public information officer to the city budget.

The city has not had a public information officer since the position was eliminated in 2009 amid budget cuts during the economic recession.

Joliet had an assistant city manager more recently.

Steve Jones held the dual position of assistant city manager and economic development director in 2019 before he was made interim city manager.

Jones was the second of four interim city managers Joliet would have from 2018 until now, and the city has not filled the assistant city manager position since Jones left.

The City Council hopes to stabilize the city manager’s office with the hiring of Beth Beatty, a deputy mayor for the city of Chicago who comes to Joliet on a three-year contract with a $230,000 salary in the first year. Beatty is scheduled to start Dec. 11.

The 2024 budget also provides for two more lawyers and a legal secretary in the legal department as the city plans to bring more legal work in-house, reversing a practice in recent years of contracting out much of that work to private attorneys.