CHICAGO — Thursday was a busy day for Chicago’s City Council, with movement on one of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s biggest promises and more debate on how the city is meeting the needs of asylum seekers.
Emotions ran high at the Sept. 14 meeting, as councilmembers greenlighted plans to turn a North Park building into another shelter for asylum seekers. City leaders also voted to utilize $33 million in federal funding to address criticism about the city’s spending.
“This body has the fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the taxpayer dollar and use it accordingly and none of us can explain where it is going. None of us know where it will go,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward).
Johnson said his administration has been transparent and will move forward with strategic plans to create base camps to house people sleeping at police stations and airports.
As the city faces a projected $500 million budget shortfall in 2024, one of Johnson’s key campaign promises, the Bring Chicago Home resolution, was re-introduced on Thursday. The project aims to bring the question to voters in the March primary election. The business community has not been on board, however.
The revised plan calls for a tiered system, which raises the real estate transfer tax on million-dollar properties while reducing the tax rate on properties under a million to generate revenue to fight homelessness.
“Less than 6% of property sales will be impacted and it’s a small price to pay for security, for housing (and) for services,” said Ald. Maria Hadden (49th Ward).
Also introduced on Thursday was the South Shore Housing Preservation Ordinance, an effort to protect affordable housing near the Obama Presidential Center.