Monday, December 2, 2013

Ald. Pawar On The City Budget

Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward:

"On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, the Chicago City Council passed a balanced budget for FY2014. I voted YES on the 2014 budget.

I am also very pleased to announce that the 2014 budget included funding for the Chicago City Council Office of Financial Analysis. The enabling legislation for the office is set for a City Council vote in December. This new office will be independent of the executive branch but will report to the legislative branch. The COFA will automatically provide analyses on the following issues:
  • a financial analysis of the mayor's proposed annual budget
  • an annual budget options report of potential cost saving reforms and efficiencies
  • a summary and analysis of the City's annual audit
  • a review of proposed public-private partnerships and asset leases
  • a review of the annual financial analysis
  • an analysis of rating agency actions
  • other analyses upon the request of the chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations
To date, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, the Civic Federation, and the Better Government Association have come out in support of the COFA proposal put forward by Ald. Pat Dowell, Ald. Michele Smith, Chairman Carrie Austin, Mayor Emanuel, and me. On to a full council vote next month!

Now back to the budget. Here are some highlights from the budget:
  • As of November 4, a total of 505 new police officers have been hired in 2013. A total of 742 will have graduated the academy by the end of the year;
  • Includes an additional $4 million in Streets and Sanitation to double the number of tree trims, improve graffiti removal, and rodent abatement.;
  • The City will treat 35,000 trees for emerald ash borer
  • Creates 12,000 summer jobs for youth in Chicago
  • Allows the City to open the first new domestic violence shelter in over a decade
I voted for this budget because it continues to address the City's structural issues without raising property, sales, or gas taxes in 2014. However, without pension reform in 2014, the 2015 budget could result in a large property tax increase and service cuts.

In 2014, the focus must turn to Springfield and I know our local state legislators (Senate President Cullerton, Sen. Steans, Rep. Williams, Rep. Harris) are working very hard to pass pension reform. I will keep you posted on efforts in Springfield and how those efforts impact individuals and families in Chicago. In the meantime, I want to again thank all of you for the opportunity to serve."

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