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City Budget Means Higher Fees; Had Enough?

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Joyce and Bill Woodfolk said they've had enough of the higher city fees, fines and other taxes that have repeatedly gone up over the years to balance the budget on the backs of city taxpayers. (Credit: CBS)

Joyce and Bill Woodfolk said they’ve had enough of the higher city fees, fines and other taxes that have repeatedly gone up over the years to balance the budget on the backs of city taxpayers. (Credit: CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago now has an official city budget for 2012 – a plan that calls for spending more than $6 billion. But to wipe out some red ink, several city fees and other charges will go up.

It’ll cost you more to buy a city vehicle sticker. Water bills will also go up, as will monthly parking at downtown lots and garages.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports on one family that’s had enough.

Joyce Woodfolk, a retired nurse, said she lies awake at night, worrying about money.

“I do, I do. I’m awake … I’m lucky if I sleep two, three hours at a time,” she said.

Her husband, Bill, is a retired department store buyer.

The Hyde Park couple is trying to make do on Social Security payments of a few thousand dollars a month. They’re more than a little miffed at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $6.3 billion budget, passed unanimously on Wednesday by the City Council.

In the discussion of the budget before Wednesday’s vote, Ald. Ed Burke (14th), who led the so-called “Stop Rahm” movement during the mayoral race earlier this year, told his fellow aldermen, “Let us give this mayor a vote of confidence as he leads this city.”

But Bill complained, “We have to pay more for our water, we have to pay more for our sticker … and we don’t have a way to increase our income, but yet the City Council and mayor have a way to increase our expenses.”

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The budget passed on Wednesday creates $120 a year increases in the average homeowner’s water and sewer bills and $10 to $15 hikes in vehicle sticker fees. Further, a new “congestion fee” for parking in downtown garages could add up to hundreds of dollars a year for people who pay for downtown parking on a monthly basis.

Asked how to handle the higher fees in the budget, Bill said, “Try and vote ‘em out; those who are not doing the right thing.”

“I always vote for new people. I say, give somebody else a chance to be a crook for a while,” Joyce said.

The Woodfolks said they will probably end up spending $150 to $200 more in fees in the coming year.

When you consider they’re on a fixed income and have a South Side house that’s in danger of foreclosure because of deadbeat tenants, it can seem like a lot more.

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