This past week, we engaged in negotiations with the Johnson Administration related to the 2024 City Budget, which comes up for its first Committee votes this coming week.
Tonight, we will be receiving the copy of Budget Amendments that came from those negotiations, and working to see if this is a budget that I can support. I pushed for a number of items:
- The Re-establishment of the Department of Environment;
- The Implementation of the Treatment Not Trauma Ordinance, which would increase the number of mental health clinics across town and expand the city’s non-police crisis response team;
- An increase to the Bureau of Forestry Team, so as to continue improving our city’s Area Trim system, which to date has increase the trees that have been trimmed by 172% Year Over Year;
- The Separation of the Assets and Information Systems (AIS) Department into the Fleet and Facility Management (FFM) and Department of Technology and Information (DoTI), so that the city can have a department solely focused on improving the way our city works, by bringing up-to-date technologies that can help make government more efficient and effective for our neighbors;
- An increase of budget to the Ward Offices so that we can better provide solutions and an amazing service experience for all of our neighbors!
There are also some very real concerns:
- The appropriation of $150M towards addressing the current humanitarian crisis, when analysis has shown that we may likely need twice that amount throughout the year, which would necessitate another budget amendment mid 2024;
- An over reliance on the TIF surplus, which is by nature a one-time solution, rather than a structural one;
- The increase of the Chicago Police Department budget to $2 billion (with a B) without a true analysis of how those dollars are being spend, and how the Department is managed. Currently we have officers taking on responsibilities that take away from their core functions (apprehension, investigation, and emergency response when appropriate). We need a police department that is effective, and that requires an audit of the Department, in regard to both budgeting and operations.
No budget is a perfect, so I will continue to caucus with our colleagues in council and listen to our neighbors as I consider whether to support this budget or not. Please let us know your thoughts at 40thward.org/contact. Government is an experiment that we endeavor into together, and we value your voice!