- Associated Press - Saturday, May 20, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The state is again racking up unpaid utility bills for its Springfield offices as Illinois nears two years without a full budget.

Illinois owes about $3.5 million in past-due payments to City Water, Light and Power, City Water, Light and Power spokeswoman Amber Sabin told the (Springfield) State Journal-Register (https://bit.ly/2r2uKX8 ).

The state was as much as $12 million behind on its electricity and water bills last year, according to the newspaper.

The utility sent a letter threatening to shut off services last July before the state finally caught up with the help of a temporary spending plan approved in June. Lawmakers have yet to reach a budget agreement this year with less than two weeks remaining in the current legislative session.

“It’s concerning to see a slow-down in payments,” said Sabin, noting that the state began lagging behind again in March.

But she said that the holdup is not putting the utility at financial risk, despite raising cause for concern.

“It’s not going to stop or impede operations,” Sabin said.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said he is monitoring the situation.

Springfield’s utility company is not alone: Illinois’ total bill backlog has climbed to $14.4 billion, according to the comptroller’s website.

Calls went out for the city to cut off power at state office buildings when Illinois allowed its bills to pile up last year. Langfelder continues to oppose such a move, saying it would make a “bad situation” even worse.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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