City Council Approves Budget

By Mary Ann Ahern and Steve Bryant
|  Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:35 PM CDT
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2010's Dreary, Dismal, No-Good Budget

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Chicago Mayor Richard Daley

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Council OKs City Budget

After several hours of political posturing, the City Council today approved Mayor Daley's budget 38 to 12.
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After several hours of political posturing, the City Council today approved Mayor Daley's budget 38 to 12.

Aldermen who voted no include Sandi Jackson (7th), Tom Tunney (44th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Joe Moore (49th), Thomas Allen (39th), Bob Fioretti (2nd), Vi Daley (43rd), Mary Flores (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), Brendan Reilly (42nd), Sharon Dixon (24th) and Ricardo Munoz (22nd).

"This budget holds the line on taxes," Mayor Daley said. "We have no more important job than helping people make ends meet."

According to the new budget, all non-union city employees will be forced to take 24 unpaid days. That furlough includes aldermen and Mayor Daley.  And the city will borrow $270 million from the parking meter reserve fund.

Besides back and forth on proposed programs and service cuts, the vote was characterized in some part by bickering about the city's oft-vilified parking meter privatization deal.

"I almost feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here," Ald. Danny Solis said. "I think there are going to be bad economic times next year and the year after. Now we have this parking meter deal and thank God we have it."

Ald. Bernie Stone, who also voted yay, also defended the program.

"If we had come to you before the lease, would you have voted for a meter increase," he said. "This is a tough year. It's a tough year for all of us. Times will turn good."

Others weren't as supportive.

"We should not go back and break our agreement with the parking meter fund, a perpetual fund, to replace the revenue that we lost," said Allen, who voted against the mayor for the first time in 16 years.

The city budget has received much attention this year for what critics have characterized as draconian cuts in city services.

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