Mayor presents 2013 budget to City Council, no new taxes or fees - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Emanuel presents 2013 budget, aldermen pore over details

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

More police, less rats and no new taxes – that's all part of what Mayor Emanuel has planned in his new city budget. City Council gets a look at his plans for 2013 later Wednesday morning.

The Chicago aldermen who got a sneak peek said it does not look all that painful.

In an address to the Council where he vowed to cut 275 city jobs this year, Emanuel said there are signs the city's economic picture has brightened - like a jump in hotel construction and the number of trade shows held at McCormick Place.

But the mayor sounded a warning, telling the council if city services remain the same and no changes are made to the pension system it will mean residents will have to pay 150 percent more in property taxes.

The 2013 budget will cost a total of $8.3 million, and there will be no new taxes or fees in this deal.

But another alderman worried the plan may be too optimistic.
 
Alderman Robert Fioretti questioned whether the city's revenues will increase as much as the mayor is predicting.
 
Both aldermen also repeated Emanuel's warning that lawmakers in Springfield must approve pension reforms. Without it, Chicago's pension obligation could be $1.2 billion within four years, or 22 percent of the city's budget.

Emanuel said closing some police stations, cutting 911 personnel and cutting back library hours earlier in the year helped bolster this new budget.

When people talk about the crime in Chicago and the violence in the city, the mayor apparently listened. As part of his new budget, he would like to add 500 additional police officers to the streets of the Second City.

But Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields reminds the public that about 1,500 officers retired this year, and around 3,000 more are ready to retire.

He said the city is trying to keep up with last year's numbers, and if they're only going to hire to match last year with 500 new officers, Chicago will remain the murder capital of the nation.

Shields said cases are piling up - and unless the number of new officers goes up, there just won't be enough officers to cover them all.

On the education front, Mayor Emanuel's budget calls for $4 million to be devoted to after school programs for kids. That money would provide for 4,000 children to participate.

The budget calls for an increase in funding for rat patrol and tree trimming services.

City officials estimate it will cut the budget deficit down to $298 million. The mayor said that's the smallest it's been since 2008.

More details will be released after Wednesday's City Council meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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