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Ald. Reilly Proposes Plan to Revoke Water Waivers

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 13, 2010 5:40PM

2010_10_13_reilly.jpg In order to help the city crawl out of the $655 million budget hole next year, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly wants to revoke free water and other waivers that hospitals, universities, churches and other non-profits receive. The Sun Times reports Reilly’s plan hopes to eliminate the need to tap reserves from the sale of the Skyway and parking meters. Mayor Daley already plans to take $120 million from the parking meter lease funds. On Tuesday, he told the Sun Times “We can’t be throwing away what little reserves we have left to balance this year’s budget at the expense of future generations. That is absolutely irresponsible.”

Five years ago, Mayor Daley attempted to revoke those waivers, which exempt the aforementioned non-profit organizations from paying water bills and sewer surcharges, but the version which passed only applied to six institutions.

Illinois Hospital Association Danny Chun said that the elimination of the waivers could do more harm than good. “When you take away those waivers, you undermine one of the key sectors of the local economy. You make it more difficult for hospitals to continue to provide the services they’re providing.” According to a study by the IHA, hospitals in Illinois impact the economy to the tune of $75 billion. Alderman Reilly backpedaled slightly saying that “reasonable limits” should be identified. Reilly’s plan could save up to $300 million, just under 5% of Daley’s proposed $6.1 billion budget.