February 13, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Announces Reforms to Neighborhood Capital Planning to Enhance Infrastructure Improvements and Job Creation

New Collaborative Aldermanic “Menu” Process Will Improve Coordination of Projects and Focus on City’s Most Pressing Infrastructure Needs

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced reforms to the City’s neighborhood capital planning efforts.  The reforms will include a new, more collaborative process for Aldermanic “menu” project requests that will ensure better coordination with other infrastructure work, focus on the most pressing capital needs, and enact a stricter timeline for project selection.

“Continued investment in the city’s infrastructure is critical to support and enhance neighborhoods, stimulate job creation, and provide quality City services. Planning for capital improvements must be a comprehensive and forward-looking process that ensures taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly and strategically for economic development,” said Mayor Emanuel.

“While the City’s resources become increasingly limited, its infrastructure needs continue to grow. It has become even more important to direct the capital funds that are available to the highest priority and most necessary capital improvements, and to utilize these funds more efficiently,” he added.

Known as the Aldermanic “Menu,” every year each Alderman has access to a designated $1.32 million budget for infrastructure and capital projects in their local areas. Over the years, the “Menu” has been an important component of the City’s capital improvement program, funding new streets, sidewalks, alleys, street lighting, and other infrastructure improvements.

For the first time, the City will share with Aldermen a list and comprehensive map of all planned projects that will be completed in their communities by Department of Water Management (DWM), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), all sister agencies (Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, CTA, CHA, City Colleges), as well as private utilities.  To ensure that “Menu” projects are in line with the city’s most critical needs, Aldermen will also receive a recommended list of the most urgent and highest priority projects from which to select.  Those lists, compiled by the CDOT, the DWM, and the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), will be informed by other planned work to ensure strategic coordination. A mock version of a local infrastructure list is attached with this release.

"Because of the substantial increase in water repair, street resurfacing and utility projects in our neighborhoods, it is imperative that we work with the Aldermen to show where city agencies and 3rd party utilities plan to replace streets over the next several years so we don’t waste resources paving a street twice over a short period of time,” said Commissioner Gabe Klein.

“We will be providing Aldermen with more information than ever before about planned improvements, supporting their ability to provide enhanced value to their constituents with the projects they select,” he added.

Typically, Aldermen submit requests through OBM and CDOT on an ongoing basis and funds not designated are carried over to the following calendar year. Aldermen will now be asked to program 80 percent of their “Menu” funds by June 30 of every year, and the remaining 20 percent must be programmed before the end of the year.  Previously, Aldermen were able to make any of their requests throughout the year. Moving forward, undesignated funds will no longer be able to be carried forward for use in future calendar years.

“These changes will ensure that the City utilizes its 2012 capital project dollars effectively while also enabling CDOT and other relevant departments to expeditiously improve our City’s infrastructure,” said Holt.


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