While our aldermen discuss high school soccer (update: budget time!) here are some budget reads for this morning, prior to a vote that sounds about as assured as Emanuel’s election was:
* Hunter Clauss reports that Patrick O’Connor, the floor leader essentially responsible for getting the vote in line, was so confident in the budget’s passage this week that he took a vacation in Puerto Vallarta.
* Fran Spielman enters the budget-vote pool: 44 to 47 for, and reports that library pages will get hit hard in layoffs.
* Eric Zorn takes a detailed look at how much water he uses, how much he’s been paying for it, and how that’ll change under the new water rates, which are set to spike.
* Worth another look: Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke on where all that water money goes.
* I’ve mentioned over and over again that fees and fines are the city’s preferred new revenue stream. Eric Krol of the Trib digs up some more that are scheduled to go up; I’m a bit surprised that “failure to cut weeds and grass” brings you a bigger hit than illegal garbage dumping.
* Several of Emanuel’s top aides and high-level city administrators are making more than their predecessors, Fran Spielman reports. On the other hand, we managed to get Gerry McCarthy at about a $50,000 discount on Jody Weis. Will McCarthy be 16 percent worse than Weis? Will crime go up 16 percent? Only time will tell!
* The Emanuel approach seems to be: set a plan to raise fees or cut positions, then negotiate back a bit.
* Protesters kept up a ten-hour sit-in over mental health cutbacks yesterday, but if you believe the reports, the work on the budget was pretty much over at that point. I’ve written before about the cost-benefit balance of mental health funding, particularly as it relates to crime.
* I haven’t done a word cloud or anything, but the theme from the aldermen coming out of the debate is “sacrifice,” “tough love,” “shared pain,” etc.
Update: This is looking very much like it’s going to pass.
Photograph: Chicago Tribune