Chicago residents brainstorm ways to balance city budget

August 2, 2011

(Flick/Mark Susina)

A new Chicago website launched last week -- ChicagoBudget.org -- lets citizens weigh in on how they think the city should regulate the budget, but the ideas being put out there are far from regular. 

They range from removing the names of city officials from pamphlets and city buildings, to legalizing and taxing marijuana. One respondent even suggested starting a Chicago Grand Prix, while others believe the city should "stop manucuring and watering unused grass."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he's "extremely happy" with the response from residents.

"I met this morning with my budget team, and there's a number of ideas that they are now scrutinizing as it relates to things that we could now incorporate, and they are beginning to scrub those ideas as they are others," said Emanuel, "and there are some very good ideas that are now filtering to the top that I think can be promising as it relates to saving money."

Some of the most popular ideas on the site ares ones Emanuel himself has floated in the past. They include cutting the number of aldermen, and reducing security for former and current city officials.

According to the Mayor's office, Chicago faces a budget shortfall of $635 million for next fiscal year. Emanuel promises to reveal a detailed budget proposal on October 15.