MAYOR EMANUEL GIVES BUDGET ADDRESS FOCUSED ON
BRIDGING DIVIDES AND UNITING THE CITY
Considering the very local and national conversation this country is having regarding quality of life, addressing the lingering racial divides, issues of inequality, political and community leadership, Mayor Emanuel’s annual budget address took a more pensive tone than in recent years. Instead of focusing on pension deficits and plugging budget holes resulting from years of kicking the financial can down the road, the Mayor focused on the importance of mentoring young people, providing first jobs and job training, and how critical it is to develop every community, not just those in or near the central business district. With the immediate needs of pensions behind him (due to the recently passed water tax increase for the Municipal Employees Pension Fund, the increase in property taxes for Police and Fire and the increased 911 surcharge for the city’s Laborers) he could focus the budget address on his goals for rebuilding communities.
Mayor Emanuel touted his partnership with a local non-profit who is helping to find mentors for the city’s public school students, his summer jobs program for high school students and the Community Catalyst Fund. The fund will kick off with an initial investment from the city which, after three years, will total $100 million. The fund will be used to attract other investors who will then invest in businesses in neighborhoods that would benefit the most from targeted commercial development. We are uncertain at this time where the city’s portion of the money will come from, but are interested in learning more about this initiative and how it may coincide with the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund which will funds directly accessible to developers and business owners to build in recently established retail thrive zones.
To the extent that the Mayor and City Council hold the line on taxes, costly labor mandates and other regulations that make doing business in the city more expensive and complex than in similarly situated areas, or the surrounding suburbs, it is possible to achieve diverse neighborhood development that thrives. CRMA stands ready to help in that effort, understanding that addressing the needs of residents and employers are not mutually exclusive ideas. We are cautiously optimistic that the city will re-commit itself to finding compromise with employers and put forth positive legislation that is helpful to the people that employ the city’s residents. In a spirit of bridging divides, the members of CRMA hope the new budget year will facilitate better communication and changes to laws and administrative procedures that will allow employers to solidify their longevity and investment in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
The department budget hearings will kick off on Monday, October 17th with the city’s annual budget overview. A public hearing has been scheduled for November 1st.
You can read the Mayor’s budget address here.
CITY COUNCIL AND COOK COUNTY
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Committee: License and Consumer Protection
This proposal adds to current restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol. It would prohibit packaged goods license holders from selling single containers of wine or liquor less than 25 fluid ounces or single servings of beer or malt liquor regardless of size between the hours of 12:01am and the legally established hour of opening for purposes of selling alcohol. As a reference, the legal hour of opening for selling alcohol is 7:00am from Monday – Saturday and 11:00am on Sundays, with the exception of supermarkets which can open at 8:00am on Sundays.
Committee: License and Consumer Protection
This proposal adds to the list of things that would make a person ineligible to do business with the city or renew a contract with the city. If a person or business entity has been adjudicated guilty or found liable in a judicial or administrative proceeding of violating the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave ordinance, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act or any similar law at the federal, state or local level regulating wage rates, then they will be declared ineligible to do business with the city. In addition, if an employer has entered into two or more settlements within the span of a year with IDOL regarding wage rate violations, the city will conduct an investigation as to whether the employer is ineligible to do business with the city or whether the license to do business should be revoked altogether. Persons seeking a business license can be denied such license if they are found guilty or liable of violating the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave law.
Heeding the many calls for commercial growth in the neighborhoods, the city identified 8 areas where establishing retail and table-service restaurants is a high priority and where retail growth can have a catalytic effect on other development. Using the recently developed complex that will house the Whole Foods, Starbucks and Chipotle in Englewood as a guide, the city is looking for other areas to achieve the same success. These zones will be the direct recipients of revenue from the recently established Neighborhood Opportunity Fund that developers pay into in order to increase density in high rise developments in other parts of the city. Retailers and restaurants that are interested in opening in these designated areas can work with the Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development to access funding and tax incentives available. Retail thrive zones can be found in the following neighborhoods: Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Chicago, West Humboldt Park and West Pullman.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 31, 2016 with a sunset date of December 31, 2019
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 10am in the Council Chambers.
Vice President & General Counsel