City Council addresses wide range of issues

Chicago's City Council wrapped up a busy day with aldermen dealing with issues ranging from a 911 phone fee hike to the minimum wage.
Chicago's City Council wrapped up a busy day with aldermen dealing with issues ranging from a 911 phone fee hike to the minimum wage.

The council rubber-stamped issues that were debated and decided weeks ago. But anyone who has a cellular or home telephone will get a monthly reminder of one measure approved Wednesday.

The aldermen voted without dissent to raise the fee on each landline and wireless telephone billed at city addresses.

"We did two things: We avoided a property tax on families and we secured the pensions of the workers who work for the city," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The so-called 9-1-1 fee, currently $2.50 per line, will increase $1.40 on September 1, becoming monthly per phone tax of $3.90.

The increase was authorized last spring by state lawmakers to help local governments pay for emergency systems. But Chicago will use the $50 million generated here to shore up shortfalls in two of its pension systems.

"We view it really as a Band-Aid approach," said 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti. "We're hoping to find ways to eliminate that in the future."

In other action, the council approved a new a contract with Chicago's firefighters union.

"I still consider us the greatest fire department in the world and this new contract will give us the ability to do just that," said Thomas Ryan, IAF Local 2.

And aldermen approved a zoning ordinance to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

"It's not allowed near schools, a thousand feet near schools, daycare centers or any residence," said 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis.

And among the ordinances introduced was the mayor's proposal to raise the city's minimum wage to $13 an hour, a mandated raise for an estimated 400,000 Chicago workers.

"Nobody who works should raise a child in poverty. It should be the first step on the way to the middle class," Emanuel said.

The mayor wants the council to vote on the city's minimum wage ordinance after the statewide referendum on the issue in November and that aldermen should use that result as a signal for what voters feel about raising the rate.

Republican cynics say democrats like Emanuel are the using the question to gin up their party's turnout in the fall.
Related Topics:
politics minimum wage chicago city council rahm emanuel surcharge politics Chicago - Loop
(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Load Comments