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Mayor Emanuel Unveils His 2017 City Budget

Mayor Emanuel unveiled his proposed 2017 budget at a special meeting of the City Council.  The $8.22 billion budget proposes spending $380 million more than was appropriated in 2016.  This represents an increase of 4.6% over the 2016 appropriation.  For your benefit, the highlights of the city's 2017 budget are outlined below.

The public hearing before the Committee on Budget & Government Operations is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

The 2017 budget contains no increase in property taxes.  However, it does propose declaring $175 million in TIF surplus.  This money will be returned to each taxing body appearing on the Chicago tax bill (i.e. Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Cook County, MWRD, Chicago Park District, etc.).  As a result, the City will realize an additional $40.5 million in property tax revenue in the 2017 budget.

To close the estimated $137 million shortfall in the 2017 budget, both expense reductions and revenue increases are being proposed as outlined below.

Proposed Budget Reductions (Quantified)

$33.7 MillionWarehouse consolidation, police and fire helicopter maintenance consolidation, energy savings, lease savings, sale of excess land
$2 MillionConsolidation of copy services
$86.4 MillionSweeping aging revenue accounts, TIF reform (surplus and value capture), Treasurer Investment Reforms
$17 MillionImproved debt collection (additional noticing, business and permit debt checks, expand debt checks to all licenses and building permits (permits requiring architectural drawings), CDOT permits and closing loopholes (apply parking tax to all levels of pricing, identify businesses expected to pay tax and pursue collection without penalty, impose a $3.50 daily ground transportation tax on suburban taxis, increased weekend parking enforcement)

Existing Revenue Growth (Quantified) 

$82.3 MillionSales tax, lease tax and other tax growth, state changes to PPRT remittance, permit and license fees, vehicle sticker reforms
$21.06 MillionSales Tax
$5 MillionPersonal Property Lease Tax
$3.1 MillionPermits and License Fees

Proposed New Revenues (Quantified)

$16.2 MillionDowntown loading zone reform and special events congestion pricing pilots

Downtown Loading Zone Reform (Pilot) – convert current business paid loading zones to user paid loading zones, starting in the Loop and Central Business District, City will convert pay boxes and update signage on a block by block basis. Parking will be restricted to commercial vehicles and drivers will pay through designated pay boxes. The fee for parking in these loading zones will be $14 per hour. City will exempt loading zones in certain areas and convert those loading zones to standing zones. Proposed implementation area includes Wards 2, 27 and 42.

$1 MillionLicense fee of $750 on pharmaceutical representatives
$9.2 MillionDisposable Bag Tax - $0.07 ($0.05/City, $0.02/retailer) tax on disposable paper/ plastic bags


Proposed New Expenditures (Quantified)                 

$40 MillionAdd 970 police positions by the end of 2018, broken down as follows:

  • 500 Police Officers assigned to the streets (250 in 2017 budget)
  • 92 Field Training Officers
  • 112 Sergeants (37 in 2017 budget)
  • 50 Lieutenants
  • 200 Detectives (100 in 2017 budget)
$12.8 MillionFor new officers, additional background screening, physicals, psychological testing, drug testing, badges, vest/body armor, IT enhancements, furniture for the training academy, training costs, new instructor certification, materials and supplies for training, equipment maintenance and cleaning services for the training academy
$3 MillionCivilianization of police department
$4 MillionJudgements and settlements
$63 MillionDebt Service Payments
$5 MillionOperating liquidity fund
$12 MillionMentoring programs
$2 MillionCity’s One Summer Chicago jobs program
$1 MillionAfterschool programs

A Community Catalyst Fund will also be created to direct investment capital to the City’s neighborhoods most in need of resources.  The City will allocate $100 million to this Fund over a three year period.  Private investment and investment returns will continue to support the Fund in the years ahead.  This Fund will be a separate entity, outside the City’s budget, that will be registered as a qualified investment vehicle that can accept and invest funds from the City and private investors.

Summary of Proposed Corporate Spending (% change over 2016 Appropriation)

$535 million (4%)Finance & Administration (Mayor’s Office, Budget, Innovation & Technology, Clerk, Finance, Treasurer, Administrative Hearings, Law, Human Resources, Procurement Services, Fleet & Facility Management)
$49.1 million (-14%)Legislative & Elections (City Council, Council Committees, Board of Elections)
$93.4 million (30%)City Development (Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Planning & Development)
$167.7 million (10%)Community Services (Public Health, Family & Support Services, Human Relations, People with Disabilities, Library)
$2.08 billion (4%)Public Safety (Police Board, Independent Police Review Authority, Police, Fire, Emergency Management & Communication)
$66 million (4%)Regulatory (Inspector General, Buildings, Business Affairs & Consumer Protection, Animal Care & Control, License Appeal Commission, Board of Ethics)
$422.9 million (4%)Infrastructure Services(Streets & Sanitation, Transportation, Water Management, Aviation)
$4.7 billion (6%)General Financing Requirements (Pension Funds, Loss in Collection of Taxes, Finance General)

Analysis by Mary Kay Minaghan, MKM Services.