The City Council Budget Committee meets today at 10:00 a.m. to hear resolutions and ordinances that would direct the Law Department to fight against early termination penalties, possibly hike fees for building inspections done by the fire department, and encourage the city to re-route TIF surplus funds to help plug CPS’ budget gap. Specifically:

  • An ordinance directing the Department of Law to explore legal action concerning early termination penalties, recovering past losses and repayment on all interest rate swap agreements: This Progressive Caucusordinance argues the City and CPS have paid more than $1.1 billion in payments for interest rate swap deals and the city should work to recoup them. “Other public and private entities in the United States have taken legal action… and avoided or lowered termination penalties for interest rate swap agreements and were repaid payments previously made to financial institutions.” Progressive Caucus opposition to swap termination fees within a $200 million water revenue bond deal last month delayed the sale (for the time being).

  • TIF Surplus for CPS Resolution: More than half the City Council has signed on to the CPS-TIF Surplus resolution that Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) introduced last month. The resolution states the City Council would be in favor of “immediate new TIF surplus action, in addition to the surplus declared in August 2015, be utilized to mitigate any program cuts, layoffs of staff, and reductions in services in the Chicago Public Schools.” Diverting TIF surplus to schools, though it would fall short of CPS’ initial $480 million budget gap for this year, would “offset drastic cuts”, keep “essential programs”, and alleviate “potential mass layoffs. Legislation introduced in Springfield by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie would divert all TIF surplus to CPS in this emergency situation instead of to other local taxing bodies. Aldermen will hold a press conference an hour before the meeting on the second floor of City Hall to highlight this item, which more than half of the city council has signed up to co-sponsor.

  • An intergovernmental agreement to expand Divvy to Evanston and Oak Park: Chicago has so far received $28 million from the federal government for the bike sharing program, with the city chipping in roughly $6.5 million. According to the IGA, the City will pass through $320,000 to Evanston and $480,000 to Oak Park for an “interoperable”, branded Divvy program. Evanston will pay $80,000 in local matching funds, Oak Park will pay $120,000. Costs and revenues will be shared: Chicago will get annual membership fees for people whose addresses are listed in Chicago and anywhere outside Evanston or Oak Park, and annual memberships purchased by people with Evanston or Oak Park mailing addresses will be distributed to each. Revenue from overage fees and 24-hour passes will also go towards the municipality where the ride originates.

  • An ordinance authorizing the fire commissioner to pick a program for electronic tracking and billing of building inspections: The ordinance authorizes Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago to choose a provider for electronic handling of inspection records and fees for those inspections. The costs will be borne by inspectors, who can pass on charges to building owners.

  • A communication recommending a proposed ordinance amending the municipal code concerning the continuation of the MBE/WBE Construction Procurement Program: Last month, Budget Chair Carrie Austin called for a temporary extension of the city’s Minority and Women-Owned Business (M/WBE) Construction Program that was set to expire at the end of the year. The original ordinance extended it through 2020, but Austin called for temporary stretch through March 31, 2016. Since this is just a communication, the committee won’t hear testimony or debate changes to the M/WBE Construction Procurement Program at this meeting.