QUINCY -- Quincy paid $17,823.76 for 13 city officials and staff to attend the Illinois Municipal League conference in September.
A report from the Quincy comptroller indicates that more than $11,000 was paid for lodging at the Hilton Chicago, where the conference was held. A total of $4,680 was spent to register 13 people for the three-day conference. The rest covered travel costs and meals.
The Illinois News Network sought the expense reports through Freedom of Information Act requests to two dozen municipalities across the state. A report from the group said Quincy spent more on the Illinois Municipal League conference than any of the other cities that responded.
Mayor Kyle Moore defended the trip. He described the city as a multimillion-dollar corporation with about 350 employees that needs its elected officials workforce educated about the intricacies of government laws and operations.
"Our leadership team and our rank-and-file employees deserve to go to conferences to learn about up-to-date procedures and best practices," Moore said.
"Every time a City Council person goes, they feel more engaged in our city. They feel that they are part of something bigger, and they have a better understanding of what cities across Illinois are dealing with and that is worth it."
Moore said the Illinois News Network story incorrectly implied that property taxes might have paid for the trip. City property tax funds are used for pension obligations, debt service and the Quincy Public Library. The city's general fund revenue comes from sales taxes, fees and other revenue streams.