By John Byrne – Chicago Tribune
Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces a political minefield as he tries to charge a separate garbage collection tax on homeowners who have long considered the service part of their property taxes, but even if it’s approved, Chicagoans will be paying much less than many of their suburban counterparts.
The mayor is asking for a $9.50-a-month fee, added to water bills. In the suburbs, some towns charge by volume for trash pickup, while others level a flat tax to help defray pickup costs that in smaller locales can make up a large portion of the annual budget.
Garbage fees of $9.50 per month, on the other hand, will hit every residence with the same charge, even those in lower-income neighborhoods. That has prompted protests from aldermen representing neighborhoods with lower-value houses who would rather see a steeper property tax hike to cover garbage pickup costs. If that happened, those residents could be shielded from both the garbage fee and the property tax hike.
Asked last week whether he would consider leaning more on the property tax than the garbage fee, Emanuel hewed to his statements about fixing Chicago’s financial mess.
“I think my budget’s kinda clear what my feelings are in (the) sense that I’ve submitted a budget,” he said. “We have an obligation to right the financial ship for the city of Chicago. The aldermen did not make these problems. We inherited them. But we’re gonna right the ship financially for the city of Chicago.” read more…..