The Finance Committee will be asked today to approve the issuance of additional general obligation bonds, a maximum issuance of $500 million to help pay old debt come due and push existing debt into the future. There is also a second bond issue on the agenda, an ordinance requesting City Council permission to approve up to $2 billion in Chicago O’Hare International Airport General Airport Senior Lien Revenue Bonds, in addition to a request from the Department of Planning and Development to issue Multi-Family Housing Revenue Bonds for the Lawn Terrace Preservation Project and the Paul G. Stewart Apartments Phase III Tower Project. Cities approve these federal bonds to help finance the construction of multi-family housing projects catered to low-income families or elderly residents.
The City Council meeting calendar lists a public hearing on the O’Hare bonds. Pursuant to the requirements of Section 147 (f) of the International Revenue Code of 1986, the City must hold a public hearing, known as a TEFRA Hearing, before the full City Council can approve the issuance of these types of bonds. In past meetings, Finance Chairman Ed Burke (14) had read the statement announcing the hearing and then adjourn the meeting on the hearing within the next five minutes, because there were rarely members of the public present to testify.
Noticeably missing from the agenda is an ordinance requiring more transparency and accountability from banks that hold the city’s money. The ordinance was introduced in June and is supported by the Mayor, City Treasurer, and Progressive Caucus, but has yet to be brought up in Committee. Last week, several members of the Progressive Caucus held a press conference demanding Chairman Burke add it to the agenda and accused the banks of putting pressure on Burke to keep it buried in committee. The ordinance would change the RFP process the city uses to select banks to hold its cash, in addition to requiring regular reports from banks detailing how it is investing in Chicago communities.