2012 Savings & Revenue Options

Focused on meeting its mandate of promoting efficiency and effectiveness in City government, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) today released its third annual report of Savings and Revenue Options for the City.

This year the OIG’s Savings and Revenue Options Report is comprised of 31 options to cut spending or increase revenue worth an estimated total of more than $1.176 billion. Each option includes a brief overview of how proponents and opponents might argue each option, and many options further highlight important questions for the public and decision makers to consider. The list of options is not meant to be an exhaustive one, and the inclusion of any option in this report is not, and should not be, construed as an endorsement by the OIG.

“This report is meant to assist City stakeholders by providing a starting point for discussion regarding a variety of immediate and longer-term expenditure and revenue decisions,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “The options themselves stemmed from submissions by the general public and City Council, as well as the OIG’s prior work.

That work includes OIG audits, investigations, and program reviews.” Some options included in the report are:

  • Reducing the number of paid City holidays to the 10 holidays recognized federally for possible savings of $5.4 million;
  • Replacing the Police Officers in the Forensic Service Division of the Chicago Police Department with civilian employees at a potential savings of $3.1 million;
  • Replacing the Police Officers in Administrative Sections and positions in the Chicago Police Department with civilians, to save approximately $3.6 million;
  • Recovering the costs borne by the City in responding to false residential burglary alarms by assessing a fee, which could raise $1.9 million annually;
  • Replacing the Firefighters in the Fire Prevention Bureau with civilian employees to save $1.5 million;
  • Reducing Janitorial Contract Services in City facilities to save $5 million;
  • Eliminating “Personal Computer Operator” positions citywide to save up to $3.7 million;
  • Increasing the health insurance contribution for City employees earning over $90,000 to save $1.4 million;
  • Setting the default on all printers and copiers to double-sided printing to save $200,000;
  • Broadening the Amusement Tax to raise an additional $116 million in revenue;
  •  Eliminating the City’s requirement to staff fire apparatuses with at least five Firefighters to save $70.8 million;
  • Eliminating the City’s subsidy to World Business Chicago to save $1 million annually.

“One should not look at the total ‘value’ of these options as an immediately obtainable, necessarily desirable, dollar impact on the City’s budget,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Implementation of some would preclude implementation of others; in other words, they are alternative options. Moreover, many options would require changes in existing collective bargaining agreements, state law, or significant planning for the restructured delivery of City services.”