Mayor pushing menu money changes
More info given to aldermen on upcoming projects, as well as suggestions
02/15/2012 2:58 PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a series of changes this week affecting how aldermen pick projects to rehab their neighborhoods.
Every alderman in the city gets a $1.32 million budget each year for capital improvement projects that they can use however they like. Usually, this money goes towards street improvements, sidewalk repairs and alley resurfacing, but aldermen have a lot of flexibility in how to use the money.
According to a press release from the mayor’s office, the new policy would make the process of designating that money more “collaborative,” providing aldermen with a list of suggested projects as well as more information about what projects are already scheduled in their neighborhoods.
“Continued investment in the city’s infrastructure is critical to support and enhance neighborhoods, stimulate job creation, and provide quality City services. Planning for capital improvements must be a comprehensive and forward-looking process that ensures taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly and strategically for economic development,” Emanuel said in the release.
“While the City’s resources become increasingly limited, its infrastructure needs continue to grow. It has become even more important to direct the capital funds that are available to the highest priority and most necessary capital improvements, and to utilize these funds more efficiently,” he added.
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said she thinks the idea is good, in principle.
“Getting information about capital improvements by utilities would be great,” Dowell said. “A lot of them tear up streets and then don’t repair them the way they should. To know what they’re thinking about would certainly help my planning process.”
Dowell said she wasn’t worried about clashing with the mayor under the new rules.
“I don’t anticipate having any of my suggestions denied,” she said. “The mayor has not shown himself to be heavy-handed.”