today's email newsletter from James Cappleman (46th Ward), When/if Ald. Pawar talks about his budget vote, we'll post it here as well. Ald. Osterman's explanation of his budget vote is here.
"Our city is facing unprecedented financial challenges due to decades of mismanagement that that many of my colleagues and I inherited. Tough decisions have to be made. If we are going to swallow this bitter pill, there has to be a give back to residents. Residents throughout the 46th Ward told me over and over again they wanted more police. During the budget hearings I pressured Supt. McCarthy to make a commitment to more police, including a timeline when this would happen.
This week, I was told that the 19th Police District would get 25 police officers during the first quarter of next year and an additional 10 officers before the year's end. This did not include the additional 8 officers that will be added next month. I will be in constant communication with the 19th district commander and Supt. McCarthy to make sure they fulfill their commitment.
Additionally, since I was elected in 2011, I have been pushing for an independent budget office to address Chicago's massive fiscal issues. This office would provide aldermen with unbiased information to help us make the best decisions and stop another privatization fiasco like the parking meter deal. It took a few years, but I was happy to join my colleagues to establish the Council on Fiscal Analysis (COFA). Without the establishment of this council to provide me and my colleagues with unbiased information, I would have voted no on this year's especially tough budget proposal.
In COFA's 64-page report, it was made clear that if the City fails to make its required contributions to its pension systems, the State Comptroller would then be required to withhold payments to the City of Chicago to cover these payments.
In essence, if there was no property tax increase after all the budget cuts we had already made, it would be impossible for us to meet our pension obligations and we would then be required to do massive layoffs of police, firefighters, and Streets & Sanitation workers in order to meet this required mandate. These cuts would not only be crippling for residents' quality of life but would freeze economic development in our City.
Politically, a "no" vote on this budget would have been much easier for me to do, but I voted "yes" based on COFA's thorough analysis and because it was a skillful response to one of the greatest financial predicaments we've ever had to face as a city. In order to have a growing and thriving city, residents must feel safe and have quality city services. This budget puts us on the path to financial stability without reducing the quality of life for current and future residents.
If I am true to my commitment in being a public servant, I have to be willing to make the tough decisions that will benefit the City, and our ward, in the long term... even if it is unpopular. The residents of the 46th Ward deserve that commitment."