As aldermen gear up for Mayor Emanuel’s budget release and a long fall of meetings, freshman Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) released two proposals–one suggesting the City switch telecom services from private to existing fiber optic network, and another for a new service permit for all moving and delivery vehicles.
“This is the time to be creative,” Hopkins said in one of his releases. “We can’t be one dimensional when trying to solve Chicago’s fiscal woes.”
The permit ordinance would apply to moving or delivery trucks carrying household or commercial furniture or packages, according to the press release. One permit would apply for parking anywhere in the city, and would cost $20/day, $100/month, or $1000/year. Permits limited to parking outside the central business district (bordered by Halsted on the west and extending all the way to the lake, up north to Chicago until it hits LaSalle, then all the way to Division on the north, and Roosevelt on the South) would be $4/day, $20/month, and $200/year.
Fines for parking a commercial truck in a non-permitted area could mean a $60 boot fee, and a $125 parking violation. For trucks over 4,500 lbs., the boot fee jumps to $400, plus a $125 parking ticket, plus fees if the car is towed.
Hopkins says this benefits both sides: the City gets some money, and drivers don’t have to constantly worry about booting and parking tickets.
He paints the fiber network pitch with the same brush. “We should follow other cities by switching all municipal government broadband access from private incumbent providers to a taxpayer-owned fiber network. The money saved can be reinvested into the expansion of the municipal network to finally reach those communities that need fast affordable access. Why would we not do this?”
Building on the existing fiber optic network controlled and managed by OMEC for traffic, first responder, and emergency services could save the City tens of millions, Hopkins noted in his press release. He says faster broadband speeds will lead to more efficient city services, too.
The Sun-Times notes that telecom revenue in the city has dipped precipitously since consumers started ditching cell phones for landlines, from $147.7M in 2005 to to $104.9 million projected by the end of this year.