Daley talks legacy in 2011 budget address

File photo of then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley answering questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Chicago, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
October 13, 2010 2:48:22 PM PDT
Mayor Richard Daley called for a slight increase in spending and job cuts in what is his final budget proposal to the Chicago City Council.

Mayor Daley, who will leave office in about seven months, said citizens will not see a difference in city services under the 2011 budget, the 22nd he has submitted since 1989. He is leaving while Chicago is dealing with its worst deficit in city history.

"I will not propose any increase in taxes, fines or fees next year, including property taxes," Mayor Daley said.

Without new revenues to fill the $655 million shortfall, the mayor will continue what he called his two decades long effort to shrink the city government.

"The city's basic services and other programs will continue to be provided. But this is not the time to expand government," Mayor Daley said.

In 2011, the city will have fewer sworn police officers than in years past but a higher percentage of officers patrolling neighborhoods. About 200 non-public safety jobs will be eliminated, more departments consolidated, and-- where efficient-- private companies will be hired to manage city-owned festivals. The mayor also wants to continue mandatory furlough days.

"This step will save us 20 million dollars next year," Mayor Daley said.

The mayor also wants to drain the reserve fund set up after the lease of the city's parking meters and tap tens of millions of TIF dollars set aside for neighborhood development. Alderman Leslie Hairston said the mayor could have suggested ways to raise revenue.

"There's one thing I've been looking at, you know, garbage pickup fees. Some people in the city pay them, other people don't," said Ald. Hairston.

Alderman Bob Fioretti wants the city to charge not-for-profits for water service.

"People are all going to have to pay. That's what's going to happen next year," said Ald. Fioretti.

In his speech, the mayor also talked about the accomplishments made during his 21 years in office.

"In 1989, when I took office Chicago was a rustbelt city," said Mayor Daley. "Foreign Policy Magazine recently ranked Chicago as the 6th most important city in the global economy."

When he finished speaking, the mayor was given a standing ovation with chants of "four more years." City Clerk Miguel Del Valle--who's running to replace Daley--called it the mayor's best speech ever.

"He's done a wonderful job in this budget address of reminding the city of how far we've come under his administration," said Del Valle.

The city council may vote changes in the mayor's proposed budget. Some members say it is unlikely they would vote for any tax or fee increase a few months before next year's the city election.

Aldermen also said the bigger budget problem will happen next year; they expect another deficit but will not have the reserves in place to deal with it.


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