As Mayor Rahm Emanuel prepares to rush his Chicago Infrastructure Trust through the City Council Tuesday, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) is proposing an alternative ordinance that would give the Council more oversight over the program.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, the Council tried to put the brakes on the Infrastructure Trust, which would allow private developers to build public projects, and rent them back to the city. The aldermen wanted another month to study it. Emanuel is giving them six days. He’s calling the City Council into a special session on Tuesday, to pass the ordinance.
Waguespack’s ordinance differs from Emanuel’s in that it would:
- Give the City Council final approval over all projects.
- Require the City Council to approve the trust’s board of directors.
- Require the Trust appoint a financial advisor who will produce “a cost comparison to traditional municipal financing methods.”
- Make clear the Trust is a “subsidiary body” of the city, subject to the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and oversight by the Inspector General.
- Operate under the city’s procurement rules and regulations and its Ethics Code.
- In the event of a dispute between the Trust’s board and the City Council, the council will have final authority.
- The Council will appoint an independent third party to produce a report that “contains a full assessment of each project undertaken or proposed by the trust, and provide a written assessment that includes (at least) a full risk assessment; a full cost analysis; a cost comparison to traditional municipal financing methods; and an economic benefit analysis for Chicago and the region, with a particular focus on job creation and retention.”
- One percent of the Trust’s budget will be set aside for oversight.
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