Mayor Richard M. Daley said today the City is planning to issue Requests for Proposals to privatize the management and execution of some City services, including the “blue cart” recycling program and lakefront music festivals, perhaps also including “Taste of Chicago.”
The Mayor also said the City will look carefully at using a portion of Tax Increment Financing funds to help balance next year’s budget, even as it continues to invest TIF funds in projects essential to building a stronger economy.
“Several weeks ago we announced that next year Chicago would have a substantial budget deficit -- a direct result of the continued impact of the nation's recession on city revenues,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
“To help balance next year's budget, we must continue to improve the management of government so that it works better and more efficiently for people,” he said.
The Mayor said the initiatives announced today are aimed at further controlling
the costs of government and transforming its structure.
“I want to be clear that the RFP’s might come back with bids that don’t provide financial or operational benefits. We’ll see what the marketplace says. But, I'm always looking for new ways for us to do better, so I hope we receive some solid responses,” Daley said.
The following Requests for Proposals will be issued:
· The Department of Streets and Sanitation will seek to find a recycling hauler who might be able to provide this service at a lower cost. The proposal would be to privatize the current blue cart services and use the savings gained to expand to new areas.
In addition, Daley said the City is also looking at a separate plan to provide recycling drop-off bins at various chain groceries and pharmacies to make recycling more convenient.
· There will be an RFP for the Office of Special Events to outsource the lakefront music festivals – perhaps including the Taste of Chicago -- to a private events organizer who would assume responsibility for planning and executing the events and providing security and clean-up services.
· The Department of Human Resources will issue an RFP to outsource the responsibility for hiring laborer and trade positions in city infrastructure departments. The private firm would post, check, test and recommend candidates for hire. This initiative was previously announced.
· The Department of Fleet Management will seek to find outside vendors who might provide maintenance and repair of fleet vehicles and equipment.
· There will be an RFP from Animal Care and Control to outsource to a private or charitable organization the feeding and cage cleaning functions now performed by city employees.
· The General Services Department will put out an RFP to enter into potential concession agreements to locate ATMs and Movie Rental Boxes in City facilities. This could generate revenue and would provide more amenities in City facilities for residents.
· And the Department of Revenue will explore supplementing the City’s cashiering services by contracting with private vendors at various neighborhood locations to accept payments to the City.
If the RFP’s come back with bids that are too high, the City will not move forward, Daley said.
The Mayor repeated that the City can't balance its budget through better management alone. He pointed out that this year the City has already cut non-personnel, non-safety spending across the board by 6 percent and that most unionized and all non-union employees have taken pay cuts of more than 9 percent through furlough days.
Daley said that moving forward, to help balance next year's budget:
· He will ask non-union employees to take unpaid holidays and furlough days again next year, and he will do so himself.
· It might be necessary to again challenge the unions to be part of the budget shortfall solution.
- He cannot rule out putting many things on hold or reducing or cutting some services – permanently or for a year or two – until more is known about how the economic recovery is going. He said any such service cuts would be done only as a last resort.
“At the same time, I want to again make it clear that we are not considering any further asset leases to balance next year's budget,” the Mayor said.
And he repeated that to keep Chicago affordable for its residents, the 2011 budget will not propose an increase in property taxes.
“Better managing government has been my priority from my first day in office. When I became Mayor, I spoke about making sure that government was smaller in size, but greater in performance. The steps we’re announcing today once again deliver on that commitment,” Daley said.
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