An East St. Louis Councilman admits, if nothing changes, the city could run out of money in just a matter of months.
So what is the city going to do?
That's the $5.5 million question.
The East St. Louis Council Chambers were packed Thursday, amid rumors that the council was considering laying off nearly everyone in the city's police and fire departments.
"Fire pops off and you ain’t got no fire department. What we supposed to do?" asked Terra Jenkins, a lifelong East St. Louis resident.
Councilman Roy Mosley admits to 5 On Your Side, that's true.
"Keep the fire chief and something else and all the rest of them would be laid off," explains Mosley.
Mosley said that nuclear option was in two of the three versions of the budget that the council was considering.
They've now decided, during Thursday's Executive Session, that's not what they want to do.
"Right now there will be no layoffs of the firemen or the police in no departments," said Councilman Mosley.
But without the layoffs, the city faces a $5.5 million dollar deficit for 2019.
It's money, quite simply, they don't have.
"We was told money would be running out between 10 months and then we’d have no money," said Mosley.
So what happens next?
Mosley said the city has a few options. They are going to try to renegotiate the city's loan.
If that doesn't work, they're considering a gaming and casino tax increase.
"Bring back some information on gaming and find out more in detail what we need to do before we make a decision," said Mosley.
Terra Jenkins said she's not sure what her hometown should do next but says she'll fight to make sure layoffs are the last resort.
"Because if we don’t fight for each other, we outta there," she said.
The Mayor of East St. Louis declined to speak to us on or off camera.
Councilman Mosley said, essentially, the council didn't make any decisions tonight.
They're holding another emergency council meeting next Thursday to come back and review their options as to what they should do next.