CAPS meeting tonight and Notes from Budget Town Hall on 11.2.11

Join us tonight to make our neighborhood safer. There is a CAPS meeting at CHASE PARK 4701 N Ashland @ 7pm. To learn more about how CAPS works, please click here.

Notes from Budget Town Hall Meeting 11.2.11

Nothing is final til the council agrees Dec. 31. Pawar wants to come up with consistent practice standard in budget and spending. Sustainability issue, what does it look like?

Ideally the Alderman is looking to go for mulit-year budgets with reductions and additions. Looking at trends instead of annually and trying to keep up every year and having only a few weeks to decide yearly There were two main issues on the table that night: the library and police redistricting.

The general sentiment from the Aldermans was that there’s not that much money left from the parking meters and not enough to go around. E.g. Library building from tif funding and general obligation bonds is for construction not for capital and admin staff because of the bylaws it is funded differently. There is no federal funding for local libraries, even the superintendant of the library thought that’d be nice. There focus of TIF money is to be used to solve long term problems, band aids only work so long.
Library is giving lots of ideas to
the council.
Someone asked, what are other avenues to help the library? Foundation? Volunteering?

Reply: $10 for one child for summer, rebalance workforce, and new operating costs. Volunteers need to be approved by union.

Policing:

71% goes to public safety. Every interest group needs to take a haircut.

Everyone wants to protect their own.

One constituent got up to say lived here his entire life. He said we have a la la land. 20 years ago gangs were all over the ward. Pulling the police district is the worst possible idea. He’s worried about a spike in armed robberies and gang violence. It’s what people will hang over Pawars head if he lets it happen. If it doesnt get fought for now, we’ll lose it forever.

To paraphrase Alderman Pawar response: “I’m not going to jump up and down. District 23 is closer to most of the ward than 19. Combining admin will have more beats on the street. Police do not respond from the building only from the street. Buildings don’t protect. An attachment to the building doesn’t mean better service.”

The police in attendance continued…”Police Districts 19 and 23 will be consolidated. It will have the third most personnel in the city. They will be combined not removed. All they’re doing is putting more police on the street.
The 19th district building that will be used, just differently for detectives and other operations.”

For more information about the police redistricting, I go into detail in my first post on this blog in the notes from the ward council meeting.

Other ways to save money?
Taxes won’t be enough…

1. Green alleys: Layer sediment on permeable surface in midline of alley. Flood damage and cost can be mitigated. Pawar wants citywide program, Chicago Innovation fund is getting started to consolidate many of these issues.

2. 20 million goes to long term savings, state law dictates surplus must go to education but it goes citywide. Pawar wants to partner TIF funding with schools in ward.

3. Garbage to grid system. Changing it will be more efficient centrally managed and not lose money when the trucks are waiting. Losing about $100 a ton which will add up to 20 million dollars of savings.  Condo associations…

4. Cell phones have made tax revenue gone down from less land lines use.

Someone asked about Teen programs? After school matters, etc.

Pawar: How can it be sustainable? The money for those programs is going to shrink in the next 5-10years

Someone mentioned the American Indian Center. Nonprofits have to start paying for water, a subsidy that the city can’t afford. 50 kids go to after school program saving society a lot of money by helping them stay in school, go to college. 90% very low income with single parent household. Not graduating high school is more detrimental to society in long term. Why not give money to make them more successful?  Just moving money around doesn’t fix anything…

Are the cuts sustainable?
$606 million deficit

$400 million in cuts and structural changes, refinancing of debt and TIF surplus.

$80 million from where?
A few other ideas.
Suburbs that havent been paying their bills for water.

Not using long term reserves to pay.

Property 2015 property tax increase because of pensions.

Union negotiations coming up too which will hurt.

Layoffs? Union negotiations make it difficult. People who make more than $100,000 should be giving some back.

Pawar: “Everyone needs to come to the table, everyone needs to take a hit”

Pawar, will the collective bargaining units come to the table? There are serious legal implications.

Someone else asked about the Recycling Rebate. The alderman said that it is probably going to be chopped for condo buildings. They’re always behind. Some things we pay a la carte for things like private school. It will be $11-12 million to cover it, probably unlikely to remain…It was a Vrdoliak and Burke legislation he’s not sure where its going.

To conclude:

Pawar said,
“This has been coming for 20 years. Where have we been? With parking meters, skyway…We have to live within our means, not worried about long term political gains, he wants to make the city more sustainable.”

He continued, “Hold your elected officials accountable. Contact them, be vocal. It may look good outside but it came at a cost to others, now we’ll be paying for social services for the rest of the city.”

The Alderman said, “Thank you for coming out, it helps us know where everyone is so we can move forward. Its okay to be upset with me, that’s what I’m here for.
Please be in touch with the office so they can know how these cuts effect you. Getting involved will protect the community the most…

So I say please join us tonight for the CAPS meeting:)

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