'I think we're in good shape:' Mayor Lightfoot says she's not expecting Chicago property tax hike for 2020 budget

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot is trying to reassure Chicagoans that she's not planning a large property tax hike to balance her budget this year. But some aldermen are still raising concerns about some of her budget plans.

"I think we're in good shape," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said expressing optimism about her budget Monday, despite not getting any help from lawmakers in Springfield last week.

"You will not see in this budget a large property tax increase, we don't need to do that this year and we're not going to," Lightfoot said. Now I can't say we'll be able to hold that off forever, particularly if we don't get the casino in the Spring session."

Without approval for her real estate transfer tax, Lightfoot had to resort to Plan B to make up $50 million.

"We've done it through by making sure we're looking at a number of efficiencies, we've made some additional cuts in personnel," the mayor said referring to the variety of measures she has taken to make up that shortfall.

During a committee hearing on the revised budget, 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez, one of the mayor's harshest critics, said that the budget is still bloated.

"So why were these efficiencies not originally included when this budget was presented," Lopez asked the budget director during the hearing.

"We found all the efficiencies we could for what was introduced, this is actually going back as a round two to say we made certain assumptions can we tighten this up a little bit," Budget Director Susie Park explained.

Concerns about proposed cuts to the Police CAPS budget appear to have been addressed.

"They're adding different positions within the CAPS section, including people that will work with youth, people who work with domestic violence," said Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward, "So I think trying to make sure those positions are filled, early part of the year to help us in the spring and summer time with violence I think is important."

Aldermen will vote on the budget a week from Wednesday, and one of the last minute revisions includes an additional 25-thousand dollars to each alderman's expense account. It's their first such bump in more than 12 years according to Alderman Pat Dowell.
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