By Fran Spielman – Chicago Sun-Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s lower-the-boom budget was teed up for a showdown vote at the Oct. 28 City Council meeting after another round of concessions Wednesday aimed at minimizing dissent.
On the morning after a 17-10 vote on Emanuel’s plan to raise property taxes by $543 million for police and fire pensions, the Finance Committee approved the rest of the mayor’s $718.7 million revenue package with just two dissenting votes.
For four years, Emanuel has tweaked his budgets to throw aldermen a bone and allow them to save face with their constituents — without compromising his own central principles.
He’s followed the same script this year, when aldermen are being asked to cast a vote that could cut their political careers short. The budget includes a $588 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions and school construction and a first-ever garbage-collection fee that has drawn fire from all sides.
To appease aldermen concerned that the garbage fee could escalate or be a prelude to privatization, Emanuel agreed to cap it at $9.50-per-household until after the 2019 election and segregate the revenue generated in a separate enterprise fund.