The Chicago City Council Wednesday showed overwhelming support for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2017 budget, approving the $8.2 billion spending plan by a vote of 48-0. The budget is a 4.8 percent increase over the $7.8 billion spent in 2016, and includes plans to hire more than 500 new police officers, expand mentoring services for at-risk youth and raise revenues through a series of new taxes and fee increases.
According to the mayor's office, these revenue sources are projected to bring an additional $148 million into the city's coffers. Here's how those fee increases and Chicago's new budget will affect the people living and working in the city.
A new 7-cent fee for every disposable bag (paper AND plastic) will replace the city's previous ban on plastic bags. And while Chicagoans who opt not to carry a reusable bag will likely spend a little more at the grocery store, the measure is expected raise about $13 million for the city. New surge pricing will also take effect at 820 parking meters near Wrigley Field, according to the Chicago Tribune. Rates will jump from $2 to $4 two hours before special events or when the Cubs play at home. Other revenue sources in the 2017 budget include a vehicle sticker fee increase, a new garbage-hauling fee, a tax on cable television and a higher 911-phone tax.
Commuters will see 685 new parking meters throughout the city, with 460 meters expected in and around the Loop and an additional 225 in Chicago neighborhoods.
The budget also outlined plans to hire 545 new police officers next year and a total of 970 new positions in the Chicago Police Department by 2018. Additionally, the city said it will spend $36 million over the next three years to expand mentoring services for at-risk youth. The initiative is expected to provide more than 7,000 Chicago Public Schools students in communities with high rates of gun violence access to quality mentoring.
“Our work of righting the financial ship is not complete, and we will continue to invest in our future, tackle new challenges as they arise and safeguard prosperity in Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Emanuel said in a news release outlining his 2017 budget.
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