Mayor Emanuel’s Budget Plan Advances

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2012 budget has cleared a significant hurdle on its way to an expected full City Council approval next week.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, there were almost no discouraging words.

To be sure, some aldermen are concerned about increasing residential water rates and higher downtown parking fees. Still, the City Council Budget and Finance committees moved Mayor Emanuel’s budget plan forward without dissent.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Budget Vice-Chairman Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) would rather the so-called “congestion tax” on downtown parking would be applied only during the day, but his colleagues may not feel so strongly.

“It is a substantial source of revenue for the city – close to $28 million annually – so I think many of my colleagues are resigned to the fact there will be a parking tax,” Reilly said.

Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Edward Burke (14th) expects easy final passage on the Nov. 16.

“If it doesn’t pass unanimously, it’ll pass overwhelmingly,” Burke said.

Burke says Emanuel kept his promise to treat the aldermen as partners.

Emanuel has made some revisions to his original plan. Rather than make steep cuts to the Chicago Public Library system, Emanuel proposed raising city sticker fees for all vehicles by $10 or $15 a year. Cars would pay $85, while larger SUVs would pay $135.

Originally, Emanuel wanted to impose a steep increase on larger vehicles only.

Some staff positions and library hours that had been slated for cuts will now be saved under the plan. Hours would only be cut on Mondays and Fridays when students are in school.

The budget plan also calls for closing three police stations – the Wood (13th), Belmont (19th) and Prairie (21st) districts, and combining some duplicative functions of the Police and Fire departments.

Water rates will be doubled in an effort to fund overdue infrastructure upgrades, and the ward-based garbage collection system now in effect will be replaced with a grid-based system.

Cuts will also be coming to the city’s workforce. The budget slashes 510 middle or senior managers for a savings of $34 million, and cuts 776 vacant positions.

  • Teresa Groat

    Any cuts at all will negatively impact the operations of our libraries; at present we are finding it difficult to meet our patrons’ needs and coverage at some branches is lacking.

    The mayor has stated that the libraries will remain open to meet the needs of CPS students, but to what good if the materials they need are not available because there is no staff to shelve them? When he says the libraries will be closed in the a.m. during school hours and remain open during winter and summer holidays is he referring to conventional school schedules, year-round schools or private schools? More thought needs to go into this.

  • tom Sharp

    Anyone and everyone can and probably find fault with some of this, but at least he is heading in the right direction in cutting waste and duplicate jobs. I would like to see at least some effort in enforcement of the “cell phone law” on drivers. Just periodic check points or red light cameras would yield $millions in fines every month.

    • Roberta Waker

      I totally agree about enforcing the cell phone law. Too many drivers are still causing or being involved in accidents by using them. Paying a $1,000 fine or $5,000 if you cause an accident would certainly help the city’s deficit and maybe these offenders would wake up. If insurance companies refuse to pay for damages in a cell phone caused accident because the driver is doing something illegal; it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to the responsible driver. Is it really worth it? And, yes, he is headed in the right direction.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live