Rahm Emanuel: City Exceeded His Cost-Cutting Goal, Saved $83 Million This Year (VIDEO)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that the city has exceeded its already lofty goal to save the Chicago taxpayers $75 million by the year's end.
According to Emanuel, the city has, instead, cut $83 million in costs since the mayor took office in May. The largest chunk of savings, $34 million, was chalked up to the city turning to federal and state grants to reimburse it for certain costs it absorbed with some programs.
(Scroll down to watch a video report on the city's savings.)
Further, the city reportedly saved $23.8 million through cutting all "non-essential" city service contracts, $5.5 million through cuts to senior management payroll, $5 million through coordinating some functions of the city's Transportation and Water Management departments and another $5 million through "real estate and energy reductions."
The city saved $3.3 million by reducing its outside legal counsel expenses, hiring 14 new in-house lawyers instead, $2.3 million by reducing its fleet of full-time traffic control aides downtown and $1 million by trimming the city's vehicle programs.
Emanuel said in a statement heralding the savings that his office "not only followed through on a promise, we have exceeded it."
"Our first responsibility is to the taxpayers of Chicago, and every day we are finding new ways to be more efficient in the way we do business," the mayor continued.
The only area listed in the mayor's announcement of the savings where the city came up short of its goal was its effort for employees represented by the Laborers' Local Union 1001 who are currently on duty disability to return to work. The announcement read that the city "continues to meet" with union leadership over the issue.
Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, told the Chicago Sun-Times the cuts represented "a significant amount of money" and "a tribute to the seriousness with which his department heads ... took his dictate to reduce spending." Still, Msall noted, the city remains "in financial crisis" due to a remaining structural deficit estimated to hover around $650 million.
The mayor's $6.3 billion budget, laying out controversial cuts to mental health clinics and libraries in addition to increased city sticker and water fees, sailed through a unanimous approval by the City Council earlier this year. The mayor has also proposed, and largely implemented, many increased fees and fines to help bring in additional revenue to the city's coffers.
Those fine hikes include more than doubling penalties for protesters at the NATO/G8 summit the city will host in May and drastically increasing fines facing those caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, violating noise ordinances and those violating other so-called "nuisance" laws.
The state legislature-approved red light camera plan Emanuel has trumpeted, but has yet to be signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, is also expected to rake in considerable revenue by identifying and automatically ticketing motorists recorded traveling above the speed limit in "safety zones" including public parks and schools.
WATCH a report on the mayor's office's announcement: