Faced with the unenviable task of closing a $1.2 billion budget deficit for 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “pandemic budget” includes a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes that could be hard to drive past the City Council without significant changes. Her $12.8 billion spending plan calls to cut 1,921 vacant positions, refinance or restructure $1.7 billion in debt and raise the city’s tax on gasoline by $0.03 per gallon. But the most controversial element is a proposal to raise the city’s property tax levy by $93.9 million and set the levy to increase annually in line with the city’s Consumer Price Index. The mayor has until Dec. 31, when the 2020 Fiscal Year ends, to wrangle at least 26 votes for her proposed budget.


With City Council departmental budget proposal hearings complete, ‘now the negotiations will begin in earnest’

By 

It’s been three weeks since Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced her 2021 budget proposal, and now aldermen say negotiations on funding and spending begin.


Aldermen press COPA and Chicago Police Board on volume of complaints, cases
By 

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, including Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts answered budget questions on Tuesday.


Business Affairs commissioner vows to ‘do more with less’ among shrinking budget for investigators
By 

Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Comm. Rosa Escareño speaks to aldermen during a budget hearing on Monday.


New youth intervention program to chart ‘new model’ beyond embattled juvenile center, top official says
By 

Department of Family and Support Services Comm. Lisa Morrison Butler speaks to aldermen during a budget hearing on Monday.


Composting could help improve Chicago low-performing recycling program, officials say
By 

Department of Streets and Sanitation Comm. John Tully, along with the department’s deputy commissioners, addressed aldermen on Friday.


Aldermen probe DCASE budget that nixes funding for Taste of Chicago, Air and Water Show
By 

Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on Thursday detailed the department’s proposed 2021 budget.


Aldermen rail on planning department commissioner for lack of communication, community involvement
By 

Maurice Cox, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, and First Deputy Commissioner Eleanor Gorski on Wednesday addressed aldermen regarding the department’s proposed 2021 budget.


City Inspector General criticizes Chicago Police Department for lack of progress on consent decree
By 

Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson presented his department’s budget to aldermen on Monday


Aviation chief vows diverse hiring as $8.5B O’Hare expansion moves forward
By 

O’Hare Airport [photo by cseeman on Flickr]


Aldermen press transportation chief on streetlight repairs, bike lanes, e-scooters
By 

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi on Friday fielded aldermen’s questions on the department’s $772 million budget proposed for 2021.


Aldermen push for policing alternatives as their colleagues call for more officers on the streets
By  and 

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown speaking at an event in Woodlawn during the summer of 2020.


Chicago Public Library could see funding increase, $23K hike in commissioner salary in 2021
By 

Acting Commissioner of Chicago Public Library Mary Ellen Messner on Wednesday discussed the library’s $112 million proposed budget for 2021.


Pass an ordinance on recruitment exams to help diversify fire department, commissioner tells aldermen
By 

Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Richard Ford speaks during a budget hearing on Wednesday


Aldermen raise concerns over staffing, decreased budget for City Clerk’s office heading into 2021
By 

Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia on Tuesday answered questions on the department’s 2021 budget during a hearing overseen by Ald. Pat Dowell.


Widening city’s investment net could help fight systemic racism in banking, Conyears-Ervin tells aldermen
By  and 

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin speaks to aldermen during a budget hearing on Tuesday


Lightfoot, budget officials defend expanding speeding tickets: ‘This is about keeping communities safe’
By

A red light camera in Chicago [DNAinfo Chicago]


Aldermen push against property tax hike, bristle at layoffs and furloughs: ‘This is going to be the hard vote for me’
By Erin Hegarty

Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett and Budget Director Susie Park respond to questions from aldermen on the 2021 budget proposal on Monday.


Budget hearings begin Monday as city officials acknowledge ‘scoop and toss’ measure proposed to fill 2021 revenue gap
By 

Hearings on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed 2021 budget begin Monday.


Lightfoot proposes $12.8 billion budget with increases in property and gas taxes as of city layoffs loom
By 

Hearings on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed 2021 budget begin Monday.


Chicagoans want money reallocated from police budget, city-sponsored survey shows
By 

The Chicago Police Department could see a 3.3 percent reduction in funding compared to 2020, far short of satisfying calls to “defund the police.”


Bennett, policy analysts urge caution on one-time borrowing: ‘How do we pay for it?’

By 

Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois president Carol Portman and Chicago Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett during a City Council Finance Committee hearing on Friday


Raise computer lease tax but ditch ‘LaSalle Street tax’ and ‘head tax’ proposals, top financial official says
By 

Chicago Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett speaks during a meeting of the City Council finance committee on Monday.


Police unions stand in the way of $55M in recommended CPD budget cuts, officials say
By 

Police unions stand in the way of $55M in recommended CPD budget cuts, officials say