CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked the City Council to approve $25 million in new borrowing to purchase about 600 new squad cars for the Chicago Police Department, to provide vehicles for the nearly 1,000 new police officers he plans to hire over the next two years.
In January, aldermen approved $1.25 billion in general obligation bonds, backed by future property tax revenue.
The mayor wants to tack on an additional $25 million in additional borrowing over the next two years to purchase new police cruisers. Many of them would be all-wheel drive Ford Interceptor SUVs from the Chicago Assembly Plant on Torrence Avenue.
The City Council Finance Committee will consider the mayor’s request on Friday. If the committee approves the $25 million in bonds, a final vote would be held Wednesday at the full City Council meeting.
Last week, Emanuel announced plans to increase the police department’s current ranks by 970 officers over the next two years – including 500 patrol officers above existing authorized strength, and hundreds of new lieutenants, sergeants, and detectives to fill existing vacancies.
Hiring 500 new patrol officers would cost about $135 million a year for the first two years, but the mayor has not yet said how he would pay for the additional officers. He has ruled out increasing the city’s property tax, gas tax, or sales tax, but that leaves many other options for higher taxes or fees.