Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's last budget passed 43 to 7 early this afternoon, sealing the quick spending of the vast majority of the proceeds the city gained through its 75-year privatization of the parking meter system about two years ago. The long-term meter fund will now contain just $76 million. Chicago residents now neither have control of the meters nor will be able to count on the $20 million in interest the long-term fund was supposed to generate annually. The budget also depends on $38.5 million in "surplus" tax increment financing dollars, rosy revenue projections, and furloughs the city's unionized workforce has not agreed to. The seven city council members who voted against the budget were Alds. Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward), Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), Sandi Jackson (7th Ward), Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward), Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward), and Joe Moore (49th Ward).
The council delayed a final vote on the Sweet Home Chicago Ordinance. WBEZ reports the bill, long-stalled before it made it out of a joint finance-housing committee in a divided vote on Monday, may now go before the full council again in December.
In mayoral campaign-related news, City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, a candidate for the city's top job, announced his support* of three initiatives proposed for the February 22, 2011 municipal ballot. They would ask voters whether the city should hire more police officers, renegotiate the parking meter lease, and tax financial transactions by speculators "on LaSalle Street and Wall Street," according to a Del Valle press release.
Council members also spent long stretches of today's meeting thanking aldermen who are leaving the council, like Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th Ward), Tom Allen (38th Ward), and Ed Smith (28th Ward). "This is going to be a drastically different City Council when we come back," Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward) said.
* Del Valle is a supporter of these ordinances; he did not introduce them.