City Council Approves Emanuel’s 2012 Budget Plan

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe City Council on Wednesday approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s balanced $8.2 billion 2012 budget plan, which fills a $635.7 million budget deficit by cutting spending and increasing efficiencies without increasing property or sales taxes. The Council voted unanimously, 50-0 in support of the budget plan.

“This was a vote for change, and represents a break from the past,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We made the tough choices that will move Chicago forward, but this budget is just a first step.” Mayor Emanuel immediately called a meeting with City Commissioners tomorrow to discuss next steps for implementing the reforms passed with the 2012 budget.

The budget plan includes savings – realized by cutting spending, increasing efficiencies, and additional innovations or government reforms – that add up to more than $406 million. The savings include: vacancy reductions; increases in debt collection; health care savings from an employee wellness program; fee waiver reforms and departmental spending reductions. As approved, the budget includes 385 total layoffs that will be effective January 1st, and the elimination of more than 2,150 vacant positions.

The 2012 budget proposal includes a critical investment and jobs program launched to update the City’s aging water system. An increase in water and sewer fees will be used to fund an ambitious infrastructure improvement program that will lead to the replacement of 900 miles of century-old water pipes; the relining of 750 miles of sewer lines; the relining of 140,000 sewer catch basins; and the upgrade of the City’s four aging, steam-powered water pumping stations. Further, and most importantly, it will boost the City’s economy by creating 18,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

The budget also reflects a historic reform in the Chicago’s public safety departments. Chicago will become the first major city to launch a consolidated public safety headquarters for both the Police and Fire Departments. In addition, the Police Department will consolidate area offices, detective bureaus and some of the police districts.

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