Chicago aldermen on Wednesday voted 47-3 to pass a $8.2 billion budget that Mayor Rahm Emanuel said would bring more officers to city streets, more funding for after school programs and better rodent control.
The plan will also see residents paying more for their phone bills and for large venue concerts, along with with previously approved increases on property, water and sewer bills.
Emanuel said his plan does not include any citywide general tax increases, but through "improved fiscal management," includes funding to add nearly 1,000 more police officers on the streets, as well as investments to modernize technology to fight the city’s violence.
The budget plan includes $27 million to implement police reforms, according to Emanuel, from staffing to training and the expansion of "strategic decision centers" in six more police districts, a formula he said has seen a 23 percent reduction in the districts that currently employ these technologies and analytics.
Emanuel also issued a call to expand programs for youth, from the addition of Safe Passage routes to 10 new schools, the creation of five new early education centers, and an increased investment in after-school activities, summer job opportunities and mentoring programs.
“We have more resources every year go to after school, summer jobs, mentoring programs, and safe passage rights and arts education so our kids have a good start and inherit our city on a good foundation,” he said.
The plan also includes a change to the city's current amusement tax, with an increase from 5 percent to 9 percent on concerts, comedy shows and plays in larger city venues.
Under the plan, venues with a capacity of over 1,500 people would see an increase and that means customers will pay more for tickets.
Each of the city’s major sports teams have decried the proposal, saying Chicago shouldn’t be proud of having the highest amusement taxes in the country for fans attending sports and concerts.
In addition, the budget includes an increase in the fee charged for travel arranged on ride-sharing apps. That fee currently sits at 52-cents on all trips, but under the new budget, would rise another 15 cents by 2019.
Emanuel said the hike would go toward making "needed investments to modernize transportation in Chicago for every resident."
In recent years -- Chicagoans have paid higher property taxes, increased parking rates, a bag tax and more for cell phone fees. Emanuel's proposal will go to aldermen for consideration before any potential approval in late-November.