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The City of Chicago’s Office of Budget and Management reminded Chicagoans today of changes they can expect starting January 1, 2011 as a result of the 2012 budget that passed City Council this past November.
“The 2012 budget reforms and efficiencies that have already begun to be implemented include more than $406 million in taxpayer savings, a new infrastructure initiative that will create 18,000 jobs over the next 10 years, a $20 million deposit into the rainy day fund, and a number of fee and fine increases,” said City Budget Director Alex Holt.
The City Council unanimously approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s balanced $8.2 billion 2012 budget plan in November, which will fill a $635.7 million budget deficit by cutting spending and increasing efficiencies without increasing property or sales taxes.
The taxpayer savings include: vacancy reductions; increases in debt collection; health care savings from an employee wellness program; fee waiver reforms and departmental spending reductions. The budget included 385 total layoffs, but that number is expected to decrease due to the filling of vacancies in other departments. In addition, the 2012 budget eliminates more than 2,150 vacant positions.
Mayor Emanuel’s budget plan also includes approximately $250 million in investments, financing and growth, which allow the City to make key investments in infrastructure and neighborhoods.
Chicago residents will see the following changes starting January 1, 2012:
There will also be changes to the following fees and fines: An increase in the city’s portion of the hotel tax; a congestion premium on parking in all city garages including sporting and event venues and airport garages; an increase in vehicle sticker fees; minor valet and loading zone fee adjustments; an increase in vacant building registration fees; and a fine increase for expired meter violations in the loop.
Additionally, the budget will cut back on non-profits that were previously getting a break on their water bills. Chicago Public Schools, Cook County Hospitals, City Colleges, State of Illinois Armory, and the City of Chicago will still qualify for this exemption. Public Museums, not for profit disproportionate shares, and other non-profits will see a decrease in aid over the next 3 years.
To ensure transparency as implementation begins, each department will provide and post monthly updates on their implementation progress. The Office of Budget and Management will issue and post quarterly updates about progress on the 2012 budget, including an analysis of overall expenditures and revenues.
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