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Elaine Nekritz

Illinois towns drowning in pension debt from hundreds of funds

CHICAGO The pension-funding crisis undermining the stability of Illinois and Chicago is rippling through hundreds of smaller governments, squeezing budgets as officials prop up teetering police and fire retirement funds. The eastern Illinois border city of Danville has reduced its firefighter ranks by 27 percent in five years to lower retirement costs. The tiny Chicago suburb of Stone Park sold $2 million in bonds last year to bolster the police pension fund, which had just six cents for every dollar owed retirees. "Most communities in this state are in no position to continuously meet the pension requirements," said Tom Weisner, mayor of Aurora, the state's second-largest...