Police Settlements
The city is poised to add $3.4 million to the $14 million tab for police-related settlements approved by the Finance Committee so far in 2016. The three cases up for committee vote today include a fatal shooting that killed a 15 year old, a non-fatal shooting by three officers in Rogers Park, and a squad car that hospitalized a mother and her three-year-old child. That fatal shooting of a teenager by police, Dakota Bright, is listed on the Independent Police Review Authority’s (IPRA) case portal, but no records are publicly available, since Bright is a minor. The non-fatal shooting in Rogers Park, which took place about two years ago, is not listed, and neither is the car accident.

New Comptroller
Erin Keane, the city’s acting Comptroller, will have her official confirmation hearing in committee today. Mayor Emanuel announced Keane as then-Comptroller Dan Widawsky’s replacement in late April. Widawsky held the post for a little over two years, having served as tax director for Citadel LLC, GE Capital, and NBC Universal. He left “to pursue other professional endeavors,” the Mayor’s office said.  

If approved, Keane will round out the Mayor’s all-female financial team just in time for city departments to submit preliminary budget documents, and for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Analysis to land on June 30. As First Deputy Comptroller under Widawsky, Keane was in charge of “preparation of the City’s financial statements, administration of federal and state grants, enforcement and collection of City revenue, and management of the City’s payroll and healthcare plans.” She’s worked in Chicago government (including the Office of Budget Management and Streets and Sanitation) for more than 15 years. There are five other appointments or reappointments to various SSAs on the agenda as well.

TIF Allocations

  • $500,000 from the Western/Ogden TIF for rehab projects at Orozco Academy of Fine Arts and Sciences, a Level 1 CPS elementary school in the 25th Ward. The total rehab cost is $1.5 million.
  • $600,000 in TIF funds from the Lincoln Avenue TIF for a small park owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) in Ald. Deb Silverstein’s (50) ward. The TIF allocation will cover the entire project cost.
  • $7.4 million in TIF funds to aid the construction of a Whole Foods distribution center in the 9th Ward’s Pullman neighborhood. Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, the force behind other major Pullman redevelopments, is behind the project. CNI is fronted by David Doig, a Daley administration alum who served in the Housing Department, DPD and Park District. The project’s estimated cost is roughly $8.1 million, the ordinance says, and is expected to create 150 jobs.
  • $15.8 million in city notes, backed by TIF funds, for improvements to Clarendon Park and a mixed residential/commercial luxury property in the 46th Ward on the former Maryville Academy site, which has been vacant since 2005. After much controversy, aldermen will vote on the redevelopment project, which utilizes TIF funding. As part of the deal, the TIF funds would be paid back by the project itself, according to the Department of Planning and Development, since there are neither TIF funds nor housing units in the Montrose/Clarendon TIF district right now. The developer, Montrose Clarendon Partners LLC, would contribute $5.7 million to the City’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund and fund the $4.6 million in improvements to Clarendon Park (with TIF money it generated). The project includes 300 residential units and a grocery store.

Tax Breaks for Landmark Redevelopments

  • A Class L tax break for a two-story, 21,375 square foot red brick building in the landmark Fulton Market area owned by Sterling Bay is one of the last agenda items on Finance Committee today. The Class L break, which reduces assessment levels for 12 years, is meant to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of landmark commercial, industrial, and income-producing non-for-profit buildings. Sterling Bay’s Andrew Gloor, sole member of the LLC filing the application, must invest at least half of the value of the landmark building towards the rehab. The land portion of the assessment can also get a tax break if the building has been vacant or unused continuously for the prior two years. The rehab, according to the ordinance, is expected to cost $2 million. Starbucks has already announced it will move into one of the retail spaces in the building.
  • The former Commercial National Bank Building in the Central Business District is also up for a Class L tax break (125 S. Clark St.). Owned by Blue Star Properties, the more than 500,000 square foot building is slated to become “The National”, which according to Blue Star’s website is planned to include “lofted office space, an outdoor terrace, an artisanal marketplace and lounge, and a fitness area.” The rehab costs are estimated at $21 million, and the building just received landmark designation earlier this month. Total tax savings would be approximately $13.9 million over the next 12 years. Daniel Burnham designed and built the structure in 1907, and in its most recent incarnation, it served as headquarters for Chicago Public SchoolsMore from Curbed Chicago.

Resolutions

  • Ald. Ed Burke’s (14) resolution calling on the United States government “to conduct extensive search of Lake Michigan off Navy Pier to locate remains of airmen lost during World War II training exercises” also made it on the agenda. The preamble says an estimated 22 airmen were killed in crashes over Lake Michigan and 228 aircraft still lay at the bottom of the lake. All other members of City Council’s Veterans Caucus, in addition to Burke and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30), say a plaque should be placed at Navy Pier commemorating “the sacrifice of those airmen.”
  • A resolution from Budget Chair Carrie Austin (34) up for consideration calls on the Finance Committee to draft a request for proposal (RFP) to providers of supplemental insurance products–like accident insurance, short-term disability insurance, hospital confinement insurance, or cancer coverage insurance–as part of the health benefit package for city employees.