Belleville Aldermen Donate Raises To Police And Fire Departments

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR)-- Several Belleville aldermen have donated their pay raises back to the city police and fire departments. They say it's the right thing to do in tough times.

Their opponents smell a political stunt.

Aldermen got the raises five years ago. This new crop, elected last year, returned the money Tuesday. But is it principle or just in-fighting between them and the mayor?

Several hundred dollars went to the Belleville police. Several hundred more were donated to the care and feeding of the fire department dog used for arson investigations.

Aldermen in Belleville are part time. With the raises, they make about $11,000 a year.

But it's more than that. Because of a budget crunch, Belleville last year slapped a $20 tax on every car in town. Four aldermen ran against that. That tax was then replaced with a sales tax hike in Belleville.

Belleville's mayor is against handing back refunds, saying a few hundred bucks help, but not much given city finances.

Whatever their intentions, they did get publicity.

There are 12 other aldermen there. So far, they're all keeping their raises. So is the mayor.