Management of City Finances

LeaderMichele Smith and Rahm Emanuel are leading the fight to get our city’s budget situation under control. After decades of overspending, over-borrowing, and selling some of our city’s most important assets, it’s been a tough job to turn our City’s finances around. But since 2011, Michele Smith and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have cut the city’s structural deficit from $600 million to $300 million, by improving the way the city delivers services and cutting waste and inefficiencies.

But we need to do more. Our City needs to establish a sustainable financial plan that ensures our tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently. We need to move towards zero-based budgeting so that every dollar budgeted is scrutinized.

That’s why Michele Smith successfully reformed the new Infrastructure Trust Program. Under changes spearheaded by Alderman Smith, public-private partnerships can’t be voted on until City Council has sufficient time to review them, and City Council must approve any transaction involve City assets. Plus, any such deal has to be evaluated by an independent financial analyst.

And that’s why Michele Smith co-authored the ordinance to create a City Council Office of Financial Analysis, modeled on successful programs in San Diego and New York City.

The ordinance, passed last year, provides City Council with professional financial staff to analyze the City’s budget throughout the year, and tasks the office with identifying cost savings measures and reviewing significant financial transactions, such as public-private partnerships, to ensure we regain our financial footing.

 This office will:

  • Perform a financial analysis of the Mayor’s proposed annual budget;
  • Create an annual budget options report of potential cost saving measures;
  • Create a summary and analysis of the City’s annual audit;
  • Review proposed public-private partnerships, and asset leases;
  • Analyze rating agency actions; and
  • Perform other analyses upon the request of the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations.