CHICAGO (CBS) — A renewed call has been issued for slicing the size of the Chicago City Council in half.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the Civic Federation says one of the actions it would take to save the city money is halve the City Council, reducing it to 25 aldermen.READ MORE: Body Camera Video Shows Shootout With University Of Chicago Police Officer That Left Man Critically Wounded In Hyde Park
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports
Currently, the New York City Council has one more member than the Chicago City Council – 51. But the city councilmen there represent more than three times as many people as Chicago aldermen.
The 51 New York aldermen are also for all five boroughs, all but one of which has an individual population of more than 1 million people. Manhattan has 10 aldermen, Brooklyn 16, Queens 14, the Bronx eight, and Staten Island three.
Los Angeles, which has a larger population than Chicago, has only 15 City Council members. Detroit, the second largest city in the Midwest region, has only nine.
The Civic Federation says the average size of a City Council for the top 15 U.S. cities is 18 members, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The group says the City Council now costs $25.8 million in the budget.READ MORE: Chicago Has 'Formally Passed The Omicron Peak' As New COVID-19 Infections Decline, Hospitalizations Level Off, Top Doc Says; Cautious Optimism With Similar Trend Reported Statewide
The possibility of downsizing the City Council has come up before this year. The Sun-Times reported a story saying then-Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel had discussed the possibility of cutting the City Council in half with aldermen who were asked to come up with ways to cut the city’s budget.
At one time, the Chicago City Council was actually larger than it is now. From 1901 to 1923, there were 70 aldermen, with two aldermen per ward for each of 35 wards. The two aldermen in each ward served alternating terms so that one of them would be up for reelection every year, the Better Government Association recalls.
Any change in the Council structure would have to be made by the Illinois General Assembly, or by Chicago voters through a binding referendum.
Also suggested by the Civic Federation is a revival of the proposal to privatize Midway International Airport for $2.5 billion, the Sun-Times reported. Aldermen approved leasing the airport in 2008, but the deal fell apart after the city could not secure financing.
When he was running for office, Mayor Emanuel said he would avoid reviving the deal, given the fiasco that resulted when retired Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed through the privatization of the city’s parking meters, the Sun-Times reported.MORE NEWS: No Changes To Chicago Travel Advisory; Every State Remains On The List For 3rd Week In A Row
The Civic Federation also advises cutting pension benefits for city workers, and having the Police Department redraw the boundaries of its 25 patrol districts to better reflects Census Bureau numbers, 911 calls, and crime data, the newspaper reported.