Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared set to go out on a note of fiscal conservatism peppered with investment in young people as he presented his final budget for the city Wednesday.
Emanuel, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election, spent much of his address touting the sucess of his administration over the last seven years.
"Let me be clear. Getting the city back on track has not been a walk in the park, and by no means is our work finished. But that does not mean we should undersell the journey we took and the work we did in this Chamber," he said. "We took tough votes. You demonstrated political courage. I have been in politics a long time, one thing I have learned is that they do not build statues for people who restore fiscal stability. But without sound, strong, stable finances, nothing else is possible."
His 2019 budget proposal included a record $77.6 million in spending on youth programs, no new tax increases, and an investment in police.
The $10 billion budget centered largely on mentoring and summer jobs for youth.
"The strongest measure of Chicago’s future is not the new buildings going up, or even the unemployment rate coming down. It is not the new start-ups opening their doors, or the record number of companies, investors, and tourists flocking here," Emanuel said. "The strongest measure of Chicago’s future, and the true hallmark of our collective work, is the remarkable academic progress of our children."
They mayor also focused on public safety.
The budget will need to cover the cost of a likely consent decree for the Chicago Police Department and Emanuel added plans to invest in crime-fighting technology and citywide cameras.
Another $3 million will be spent on garbage cart upgrades and rodent abatement will be emphasized, the proposal states.
The next large payment on public employee pension funds is not due in 2019.
"When I made the difficult decision not to seek re-election, I said our duty as public servants is to do the best we can and pass the torch," Emanuel said at the end of his address Wednesday. "Let us challenge those who sit in this historic chamber or stand at this rostrum in the future to remember the responsibility that comes with that torch. If our leaders spend money we don’t have, they will steal the future our children could have had."