The Committee on Finance is scheduled to discuss and vote on new appointments and changes to the Chicago Infrastructure Trust Board, a financing agreement for the St. Edmund’s affordable housing project in the Washington Park community, additional funding for small business improvement grants, and $800,000 in legal settlements.
Finance Chairman Ed Burke (14) is also expected to formally introduce his ordinance to ban the sale or possession of cell phone cases that look like guns. He announced the ordinance last week in a press release, calling the replicas a threat to public safety. If approved by committee, it’ll get voted on two days later by the full City Council. Ald. Will Burns’ (4) resolution requesting the state deny Spike Lee’sapplication to get a tax break for his film Chiraq, and Ald. Joe Moreno’s (1) ordinance adding new fees for trash collection are also on the regular agenda.
Chicago Infrastructure Trust Board: This ordinance will be directly introduced into committee, and if approved will be voted on by the full City Council Wednesday. The speedy timetable is likely due to the fact that the Board’s next meeting is on August 7th. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced his plan to put Leslie Darling, with the City’s Law Department, and City Treasurer Kurt Summers at the helm of the Board, where they will invest in city infrastructure projects with a mixture of private and public funding. He also wants to expand the number of commissioners on the board from five to seven. Mayor Emanuel first introduced the Chicago Infrastructure Trust in 2012 as an “innovative way to leverage private investment for transformative infrastructure projects and guide the city’s renewal”, but it has since seen a slow rollout.
Bonds for St. Edmund’s Oasis Apartment Project: The City wants to execute a $5.5 million loan agreement with and issue up to $12 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds on behalf of St. Edmund’s LLC, the developer behind a plan to build 58 affordable housing units in Washington Park. Nineteen units will be set aside for public housing. Cities approve these federal bonds to help finance the construction of multi-family housing projects catered to low-income families or elderly residents. The Chicago Housing Authority will provide the funds for the $5.5 million loan. The City owned the property valued at $630,000, and sold it to the developer for $14 in 2014. The $20.4 million project will consist of 1-4 bedroom units in 4 town homes and includes a community garden and play lot.
Legal Settlements: There are three legal settlements pending committee approval. The largest proposed settlement ($360,000) concerns several police officers who were allegedly involved in shooting and injuring two minors. The mother, Catherine Waller, filed the suit on behalf of her two sons. The second case, filed by Brenda Dawson in 2008 on behalf of her deceased husband James Yearwood, is a medical malpractice suit involving St. Bernard Hospital.
Ald. Moreno’s Trash Fee Ordinance: Any business that holds a permit to place a trash can in the public way would get fined if the trash is overflowing to the point that it’s falling onto the street, according to the ordinance. Violators would be fined up to $250 per trash can per day. The ordinance also adds language excluding trash bins paid for with Special Service Area tax revenue. Last year, Ald. Moreno introduced an ordinance amending the municipal code so that SSAs wouldn’t have to pay a fee for certain items installed in the public way, i.e. trash cans, but it never left committee.