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Chicago residents weigh in on plans to fill city’s $838M budget deficit

By Evelyn Holmes, ABC7 News

School funding, neighborhood investment and property taxes are just a few of the topics that Chicago residents have highlighted as priorities for the next city budget.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot held her second town hall Saturday in West Town.

Chicago residents want change, but they know it’s going to cost them.

“I would be willing to give up funding to the police in order to have more economic development more city service in our community,” said Linda Young, who lives in the South Shore neighborhood.

At the second of five scheduled community meetings about the city’s massive $838 million budget deficit for 2020, Lightfoot got an earful about what residents were willing to pay for and what they couldn’t do without.

“I would pay more taxes if we could get the types of housing and development we want in East Garfield Park,” said resident Clifton Cooper. “We just don’t have it.”

During the Saturday forum, there was concern about increasing property taxes, which the mayor said she’d like to avoid. There was also frustration over the lack of investment in neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

“People who have money, they can walk right down stairs and go to the grocery store. You come to my neighborhood, first of all, it’s poor and there’s no grocery store, so we have to spend money on transportation to get to the grocery store and spend money to get back home to this area, where there is nothing,” said Annette Britton, who lives in East Garfield Park.

The opinions shared included making school funding a priority while addressing ways to combat crime.

“If the only two things we do this year is to have after school programs for the children and job programs for people on probation and parole, we can cut gang crime and murders over 50%,” said Dr. Kimball Ladien, who attended the forum.

Chicago’s 2020 budget is due October 23.

Three more budget town hall meetings are planned for this month as the city continues its budget process.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.

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