Finance Committee’s nine page agenda has a significant number of Tax Increment Financing district-related ordinances, various appointments and reappointments to Special Service Areas (SSAs), and tax levy and budget requests for 21 SSAs.

The retirement boards of four of the City’s pension funds filed property tax levy requests for the 2016 levy that are significantly higher than the payment Mayor Emanuel proposed in his 2016 Budget.  

Pursuant to state law, the retirement boards are required to send yearly estimates of the City’s portion to the fund. But unlike the mayor’s proposed pension payment plan outlined in his budget request, which is based on an extended pension payment timeline outlined in Senate Bill 777, the estimates provided by the Police and Fire boards are based on the current funding ratio, which requires these pension funds receive a 90% funding ratio by 2040.

With a roughly $8 billion unfunded liability, the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund is requesting $675.8 million from the 2016 property tax levy. Mayor Emanuel proposed a $464 million payment for 2016. The Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund is requesting $284 million, a slight increase from the Mayor’s proposed $208 million payment for 2016.

The Laborers’ and Retirement Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund is requesting $28.5 million, while the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund is requesting $277.7 million. Both of those funds are about the same Mayor budgeted for 2016 due to a new plan for those funds enacted by the state legislature in 2014. The levy requests for the Police and Fire pension funds are listed on Legistar, while the other two will be directly introduced at today’s meeting.

SSA Related Ordinances

Every year, SSAs must provide the City Council with an outline of proposed expenditures for the next fiscal year, in addition to requesting a percentage of the annual property tax levy to pay for improvements. Three of those SSAs are requesting a levy of over a million dollars.

Stockyards (SSA #13), is proposing a $1.3 million dollar budget, $1.18 million of which will come from local property taxes. Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council Executive Director Craig Chico filed the levy request. Chico is the brother of former mayoral candidate Gery Chico. The SSA’s biggest expenditure for 2016, roughly $500,000, will go towards public safety. Chico lists Securitas Security Services, USA as the independent security contractor.

The second largest SSA budget request, $1.2 million, was filed by Ghian Foreman, Executive Director of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, for the 63rd Street SSA (#3). Foreman seeks a $1.1 million dollar property tax levy to fund next year’s budget, which allocates a significant amount of the 2016 budget for public safety ($305,900) and attraction ($300,950).

As for the 10 SSA appointments listed on the agenda, five are new appointments. This includes the appointment of Claretian Associates Executive Director Angela C. Hurlock to the Commercial Avenue Commission (SSA #5), Franklin Elementary Fine Arts Center Principal Margie D. Smagacz to the Old Town Commission (SSA #48), and Dever Elementary School Principal Rita O. Ortiz to the 59th Street Commission (SSA #59).

Proposed Amendments to 5 TIFs

Mayor Emanuel introduced five ordinances at the September City Council meeting to amend five TIF districts.

Woodlawn TIF – This ordinance amends the land use plan to allow for the planned development of the University of Chicago’s Woodlawn Charter School.

Cicero/Archer TIF – An amendment to reflect new residential and commercial development plans on seven parcels of land in Garfield Park.

The Belmont/Central and 119th/1-57 TIFs would be expanded under two ordinances the Mayor introduced. The former TIF will expand its borders to include an additional 136 acres of commercial properties and parks in the Belmont/Cragin and Portage Park neighborhoods. The latter TIF district will expand to include an additional 888 acres of commercial and residential properties located in the Morgan Park and Pullman Communities.

Sanitary Drainage and Ship Canal TIF – This South Lawndale TIF district will get extended for an additional 12 years under the ordinance introduced by the Mayor. Originally designated as a TIF in 1991 to support the redevelopment of the industrial corridor, it was scheduled to expire this year, but the new expiration date will be December 31, 2027.

Ordinances Authorizing TIF Funds for Capital Projects at Four CPS Schools

Approximately $4.4 million dollars from the Ewing Avenue Redevelopment TIF will fund capital improvement projects at Jane Addams Elementary School and Matthew Gallistel Elementary Language Academy.

Jane Addams Elementary, a neighborhood elementary school serving grades K-8, would receive $1.7 million dollars from the TIF to pay for the installation of new energy efficiency windows, masonry and structural upgrades. The school is located at 10810 S. Avenue H in the East Side neighborhood and has an enrollment of 822 students, 97% of which are Hispanic, and 86% of which are low income. While a majority of the funds will come from the Ewing Avenue Redevelopment TIF, the Ordinance also authorized the transfer of $600,000 in TIF funds from the neighboring TIF, the Lake Calumet Avenue Redevelopment Project.

Also located in the East Side neighborhood, Matthew Gallistel Elementary Language Academy, a K-8 school with 1,164 students, would get $2.7 million in TIF money for installation of a new roof, tuck pointing, air conditioning units and various floor, wall, ceiling and door repairs at the 100-year-old school building.  

$500,000 from the Woodlawn TIF will pay for recreational improvements at James Wadsworth Elementary, including new playgrounds, artificial turf, outdoor classrooms, walkways and plants. $27,000 from the 63rd/Ashland TIF will pay for a new playlot at the Charles W. Earle STEM Elementary School.