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Chicago budget town halls aim to explain how city will spend on infrastructure

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Plus, a city survey asks residents what budgets should increase or decrease

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot will discuss some of the city’s toughest financial questions on Thursday in a primetime address. Following that in September, the mayor will host a series of town hall meetings so Chicagoans can learn how the city will begin to solve long-time issues with the budget.

Those conversations could involve discussing how the city’s revenue is spent on city services like infrastructure, development planning, public art, homelessness support services, and police.

In addition a city survey is now open through the end of September that asks about what spending areas—everything from streets and sanitation to libraries—the city should increase or decrease funding. A section on the survey asks residents to divide up an imaginary $1000 between 9 departments while keeping in mind that the city’s budget doesn’t include the budgets for sister agencies like the Chicago Transit Authority, Park District, and Housing Authority.

A chart shows the distribution of the city’s budget. Police services has the most at $1.6 million.
The dollar amount next to each category represents the total budget for that item across all funds in 2019.
City of Chicago

The meetings will be live streamed and held at the following locations:

  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 4 at the Copernicus Center on 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
  • 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 14 at Roberto Clemente High School on 1147 N. Western Ave.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 at Southeast United Methodist Youth and Community Center (The Zone) at 11731 S Ave.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25 at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, 6130 S. Wolcott Ave.

There is likely a long and challenging road ahead of Lightfoot’s administration to find out how it will fill the $750 million budget gap. The “state of the city” address and these town hall meetings will begin the process.