Emanuel's budget praised, but includes some tough sells for aldermen | WBEZ
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Emanuel's budget praised, but includes some tough sells for aldermen

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday laid out how he plans to close the city's $636 million deficit. His budget includes hundreds of job cuts, shorter library hours, higher water rates, a jump in the hotel tax and an extra fee to park downtown.

BUDGET ANALYSIS: Host Melba Lara with reporter Sam Hudzik

"We can't kick the can down the road, because we've run out of road," Emanuel told the city council. "If we can summon the political courage to address these challenges through new thinking and tough choices, I'm convinced that we can build a strong future for Chicago's families."

Emanuel's plan was largely met with praise by Chicago's aldermen, who must approve the budget. But some proposals could be a tough sell.

The budget moves Chicago away from a ward-by-ward system for garbage collection to a grid system expected to cut costs. Ald. Roberto Maldonado is sounding like a 'no' on that.

"My constituents are still going to hold me accountable," Maldonado said. "Do you want to go to the grid system? Do you think it's more efficient? Then given somebody else's telephone number to the constituents so that they can call them."

Also on the garbage front: Emanuel wants to do away with a rebate the city gives condo owners who pay for private trash pick-up. 

"Condominium owners are not exactly doing very well in this economy," Moore told reporters after the speech. "The value of their condos has declined precipitously. So I think that should be factored in to the equation."

Some aldermen also promise to fight the elimination of three Chicago police districts, which Emanuel justified by saying those stations are old.

And the mayor's proposal to raise city sticker costs for SUV owners was met with firm opposition from the city clerk, whose office sells the stickers. But Susana Mendoza doesn't get to vote on the budget.

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