2024 City Council Budget Update
The number of active Police officers was requested. According to the budget office, as of October 17, 2023, there are a total of 8,571 active Police Officers.
How many Police Officers will be retirement eligible and how many does the City forecasts will retire? There will be an estimated 2,282 Police Officers that will be retirement eligible by the end of 2024. It is estimated that 20% or 456 of those Officers will retire. Ald. Quinn also asked how many Police Officers the City can hire next year. There will be 8,862 Police Officer budget positions for FY2024. The City is currently hiring 60 Police Officer Recruits per month.
Another issue I have been trying to track and get a cost benefit analysis for is the use of police officers at all major events like 5/10k/marathon races, festivals, markets, or other venues. While the Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) requires that operators of events maintain private security (at major events) and police presence for all events, they do not do any cost benefit for the Police Department. The details to hundreds of events especially in summer means officers are pulled away from patrol duties and also disrupts overtime, next shifts, and other budget issues. DCASE is only responsible for collecting and tracking a processing fee for special event permit applications. Fees range from $100-$2,000 (depending on when the application is submitted). The revenue generated for DCASE as of October 1, 2023, is $140,000. That clearly does not make up for the hours of police operations.
TIF Uses for Sister Agencies
The City Council budget hearings are available for online viewing at the City Clerk website. One question we often receive for budgeting sister agency projects is how much TIF may be utilized for a project that is IN an actual TIF district. Most school, CTA (aside from the Red Line), parks, and CHA housing sites are not located in TIF districts. Those that are utilize available TIF funds. The subject of the question this year was how much the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Transit Authority used in 2022 and part of 2023. The TIF amount spent in 2022/23 was roughly $1.245 Billion in TIF funds for about $4.002 Billion in total project costs.
City Council Meeting Decorum
Another note on the disturbing incidents that took place at City Hall yesterday during a call to quorum for a special meeting. A quorum of the 50 City Council members is 26, enough to officially start a meeting. Over the years, I have seen meetings called that did not have enough aldermen present to begin the proceedings, much like yesterday.
We have heated debates in Council, and there are moments when tensions over ordinances and opinions ride high. Sometimes tempers flare, and words are traded that require us to take a step back and apologize or check the tone of the debate. But physical threats, or verbal threats that included blocking any future
zoning legislation of members cannot be tolerated. Roberts Rules of Order, which are similar to our City Council Rules speak to issues of decorum. Acts of intimidation cannot be allowed if we want to ensure civil debate.
What I had not experienced until yesterday was an Alderman (35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa) physically and verbally threatening members in order to prevent their presence at the meeting and stopping the meeting from moving forward. It has happened in recent years in Congress, and although not to the same level here in City Hall, the toxicity and threats in recent times have increased.
Over my years as Alderman, I've voted differently from the mayors and allies on particular issues. These were often tough votes for me, sometimes not so tough (like parking meters). But, they never prevented me from coming into the council chambers to cast votes.
A constituent pointed out to me this evening that their student couldn't act like this in a classroom and it is highly disappointing to see adults setting such a low standard. It also weakens the public’s opinion about our elected officials as a whole. Great points we should all take heed of each day, and work to do better.