CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago City Council has begun hearings into Mayor Emanuel’s proposed 2015 budget, and aldermen are asking questions about the spending plans, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

City Budget Director Alexandra Holt outlined the mayor’s plans to double the number of pothole crews and increase the number of new trees to be planted.

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Alderman Ricardo Munoz asked why he didn’t see money for new employees in the budget to perform those functions.
Holt says some of the money is in another part of the document and that in the forestry department, about $400,000 in additional overtime.

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With violent crime very much in mind, a number of aldermen had questions about the level of police staffing. Alderman John Pope was among those who asked Holt about plans to maintain the force at current levels and not hire many more officers as some of their colleagues have suggested.

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According to Holt, there will be 12,533 sworn positions for 2015, with about 9,700 positions for beat officers. She says using overtime when needed gives police officials more flexibility than paying salary and benefits for full-time officers.