Lori Lightfoot

Watch Live: Lightfoot to Release 2021 Budget Forecast in Midst of Coronavirus Pandemic

Lightfoot said April numbers project the budget could fall $700 million short of plans

NOTE: Watch the announcement live beginning at 1 p.m. CST in the player above

With questions looming over just how hard the city's budget will be hit during the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is set to address the 2021 budget forecast Monday.

Lightfoot is scheduled to join Budget Director Susie Park, CFO Jennie Huang Bennett, and Comptroller Reshma Soni to release the latest forecast, according to her public schedule.

The announcement is slated for 1 p.m. (Watch live in the player above)

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 late last month, Lightfoot said she couldn't rule out layoffs for city workers due to a massive financial shortfall the city is experiencing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

During the interview, Lightfoot said that tough financial decisions may have to be made in the city if lawmakers in Washington don’t pass legislation to help struggling cities and municipalities, and said that laying off workers to slash costs is a possibility.

“I can’t take it off the table, because we’re still working on solutions for the 2020 budget,” she said. “We’re still looking to Washington, but we’re gonna have to formulate some alternative plans if we don’t see that there’s any glimmer of hope of getting more support from Washington DC.”

In June, Lightfoot said she could not rule out an increase in property taxes as the city faced a major budget shortfall caused largely by a drop in tourism and other business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lightfoot said April numbers projected the budget could fall $700 million short of plans.

"That 's a sobering number and presents a sobering challenge," Lightfoot said during a press conference at the time.

The city has already been forced to cancel major revenue-driving events, including the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, Air and Water show, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and more.

"While this budget shortfall is grim, what would have been worse is if we had seen more people die ... if we hadn't sheltered in place," Lightfoot said.

And with the city is still not fully reopened, the numbers will likely continue to rise.

Among previously announced plans to address the shortfall, Lightfoot said the city would use $100 million to refinance savings from the beginning of the year, ID additional refinancing savings and look for further savings in city departments, including reprioritizing hirings for 2020.

But still, that won't keep a property tax increase and staff layoffs from remaining in play.

"I can't take it off the table, but it is truly the last thing I want to do," Lightfoot said.

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