Illinois budget fight delaying utility payments to prisons

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (AP) _ One small central Illinois community is considering shutting off water to its prison because it’s owed nearly $370,000 from the state during the nearly yearlong budget stalemate between Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Mount Sterling City Council plans to vote Monday on whether to cut off water at its medium-security prison housing 1,800 inmates. The Quincy Herald-Whig reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1sNc22o ) the city of 1,900 residents is among three west-central Illinois communities with prisons that are waiting for payments from the state.

The two other municipalities, Clayton and Pittsfield, are not considering pulling the plug on utilities at its prisons.

Mount Sterling Mayor Dane Flesner says he opposes cutting off water to the prison because they would lose 400 jobs if inmates are moved elsewhere and the facility closes.