There were 1,050 introductions at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Here’s a resolution-heavy look at some we didn’t include in yesterday’s newsletter, including more ballot referenda. The deadline for City Council to adopt up to three advisory questions for the November ballot is August 22.

  • $7.4 Million for Whole Foods Distribution Center in Pullman – An ordinance seeking authorization to issue $7.4 million in city notes to help fund the construction of a 140,000-square-foot Whole Foods Distribution Center in the North Pullman TIF was introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday. It’s the latest in a slew of developments in Anthony Beale’s 9th Ward. The project is expected to cost roughly $8.1 million, the ordinance says. The $7.4 million in assistance for construction was designed to lure Whole Foods away from its current distribution center in Munster, Indiana. The Mayor’s office says the move will create 150 jobs in Chicago, and the center is expected to open its doors in early 2018. Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) was named developer of the site. CNI was also master developer of the mixed use Pullman Park site, and is developing a community center in the neighborhood (more on CNI’s involvement in another project below). The city is authorized to use $500,000 from the North Pullman TIF, and could also choose to accept a transfer of up to $500,000 from the neighboring Roseland/Michigan TIF. The total note issuance costs and debt service reserve fund are estimated to be roughly $1 million.   

  • Security Camera Expansion – A resolution calling for the expansion of “Operation Virtual Shield”, a program first initiated under Mayor Richard M. Daley to place surveillance cameras on every other block. It was described as “the most extensive city surveillance system in the country,” and funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Private companies have already linked their street facing exterior cameras to the system, which is managed by the Office of Emergency Management and Control (OEMC). Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) says he’d like homeowners with private security systems to be able to opt in to Operation Virtual Shield as well, so OEMC can access their private security cameras live during emergencies. New surveillance cameras cost $27,000 on the aldermanic menu fund. Instead, Lopez wants to offer $200 rebates to homeowners who link with the city’s system. The resolution requests OEMC and the Office of Budget & Management to “work together towards creating a video surveillance rebate pilot program funded by aldermanic menu funds at limits set by the local alderman.”
  • Full Press for Free Meals for CPS Students – A resolution from Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10), the only Chicago Teachers Union member on the council, and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) calls on CPS, Local School Councils, and principals to ensure all qualified students are offered breakfast and lunch “in order to access the $14.3 million in federal reimbursements not currently received by Chicago Public Schools.” Garza tells Aldertrack there’s a great gap between students eligible for free meals and those who actually take them. Last year in the 10th Ward, schools like Gallistel, Clay, and Thorp Elementary, where 100% of students are eligible for free or reduced meals, less than 60% of the students took advantage of the program. Garza says that because there are so many kids across the city not eating breakfast, more than $14 million in federal reimbursements have been “left on the table.” The high concentration of poverty among CPS students qualified the district for full federal reimbursement from the US Department of Agriculture for breakfast and lunch. The district started participating in 2014.
  • Vacant Property Registration – An ordinance amending rules for upkeep and registration of vacant properties. The proposal from Ald. Ed Burke (14), citing the difficulty in tracking down mortgagees of properties in default, puts mortgagees or their “designees” in charge of maintaining properties. The ordinance would mandate that all vacant properties, not just residential ones, be registered and maintained (e.g. free of tall grass, dead trees, broken windows, snow on the sidewalk, etc.).  

  • Referendum on City-Issued IDs – A resolution from Ald. Danny Solis (25) and 29 other sponsors calls for a ballot question on the creation of municipal IDs “that will expand access to city services for residents unable to access other forms of identification.” The city’s language access ordinance, passed in April of 2015, called for the creation of a task force to look into the development of municipal IDs, which could be used to connect Chicagoans with city programs, regardless of immigration status, homeless status, or gender identity. Mayor Emanuel established the group in July of 2015, and was supposed to report its findings in September of 2015, in time for the release of the FY 2016 budget. One of its members, Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told Aldertrack “The city’s municipal ID group had been scheduled to meet a couple of times over the past few months, but those meetings were postponed.  We are still interested in the concept and are continuing to explore possibilities.” New YorkOaklandSan Francisco, and New Haven have created their own municipal IDs, with varying degrees of success.

  • Expanded Health Coverage for City Employees – A resolution from Budget Chair Carrie Austin calls on the Finance Committee, led by Chair Ed Burke (14) 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.

  • Hearings on 911 Call System – A resolution from Ald. Emma Mitts (37) calling for hearings on OEMC’s “general protocol and procedures for intake of emergency 9-1-1 calls and the timely dispatch of first responders in response to requests for emergency assistance.” Mayor Emanuel recently announced new leadership at OEMC – Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. She was appointed to replace Gary Schenkel, who had held the post since 2011. Schenkel faced lengthy and tough questioning from aldermen during last fall’s budget hearings over the proposed privatization of 311 services. Tate-Nadeau has not yet been confirmed by the City Council.

  • WWII Lake Michigan Search –  A resolution calling on 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.” 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. Lead sponsor Ald. Ed Burke (14), all other members of City Council’s veterans caucus, and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30) say a plaque should be placed at Navy Pier commemorating “the sacrifice of those airmen.”