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Just One More Day Until Vote On Mayor Emanuel’s Budget

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces plans to upgrade the CTA Red Line. (Credit: Illinois Information Service)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Just one more day remains before the City Council votes on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first budget proposal.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, arriving at the final version of the mayor’s $6.3 billion budget took weeks of back-and-forth between the mayor and aldermen.

Most recently, the mayor reached an agreement with condo owners over the $75 per year rebate for trash collection.

The budget also means fewer library cuts that originally planned, increased parking fines, and eventually, no more free water service for non-profits.

“I think I’ve laid out a proposal, a budget, that asks fundamental questions about what kind of government we have; what our role is; what services we can provide; what we can afford,” Mayor Emanuel said.

Some aldermen have complained about features of Mayor Emanuel’s 2012 budget, including a $2 congestion fee for parking in lots and garages. While the mayor says the goal is to reduce the number of rush hour motorists downtown, some aldermen argue that the tax would also hit motorists parking in lots and garages elsewhere in the city, and doesn’t say it is limited to any particular time of day.
Aldermen also complained about the cuts Emanuel proposed to the library system, but in lieu of those cuts, 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.

The City Council is expected to approve the budget during a vote Wednesday.

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