Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, right, addresses an Illinois Senate committee during a hearing at the State Capitol on March 9, 2017, with Chicago Ald. Ricardo Munoz at far left.

A Chicago alderman unveiled a plan Wednesday to redirect $25 million in extra revenue identified by the treasurer’s office to fund programs for antiviolence, job training and after-school efforts in all 50 wards.

Veteran Southwest Side Ald. Ricardo Munoz wants the money to go directly to the kinds of initiatives that he says will help neighborhood residents most. Earlier this month, Treasurer Kurt Summers announced that the city had an extra $57 million because of better-than-expected city investment earnings.

So Munoz has designed an order calling on the city Finance Department and comptroller to sequester $25 million of the earnings and give it to the city’s Department of Family and Support Services. For each ward, $500,000 would be set aside through the program he’s calling "Safe Summer ’17," and agencies could apply to receive some of the money.

"The city is bleeding. The city is bleeding, literally, and we have to put a stop to it," Munoz said. "Safe Summer ’17 does that." He said his plans is a better idea for the interest money than Summers’ proposal to put it in the Chicago Community Catalyst Fund to assist businesses and real estate developments in struggling neighborhoods.

It’s not clear how much of the $57 million in additional interest Summers touted is free to be moved as Munoz wants. City finance officials have said they want to confirm Summers’ numbers, and some of the interest money is likely to be tied to other city programs.

Munoz, 22nd, said that’s why he’s calling on the city to "find it," to see how much is actually available.

Spreading the money to every ward could make it easier for Munoz to get broad City Council support, though he insisted the aim was simply to help organizations across the city that can help stem violence. "This is the best way to do it because the entire city is hurting," he said.

Munoz’s proposal would head to the Finance Committee for further consideration. He said he hopes to get it through the full City Council quickly, so the city can start accepting applications for the money in May.

A city spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s position on Munoz’s plan. Munoz said he had met with the mayor and other city officials, "and they have not had an adverse reaction to it."

Summers spokeswoman Alexandra Trumbull on Wednesday indicated the treasurer is supportive of the effort.

Earlier this month, Summers said the city’s investment returns came in $57 million higher than expected last year. He called for all of that money to be pumped into a new city loan fund designed to assist businesses and real estate developments in struggling neighborhoods.

The Community Catalyst Fund, which Summers calls Fund 77 in a nod to the number of city community areas, was created last year by Emanuel at Summers’ urging. The plan was to put $100 million into that fund over the first three years, including $35 million this year.

But Emanuel administration officials have expressed skepticism that there actually is $57 million in extra investment income from last year that the city is free and clear to spend as it wishes. Some of the money likely is in funds dedicated to special uses, and the city’s final 2016 financial report, which would verify the excess earnings, is not complete.

Trumbull said $26 million of the additional income came from investments of long-term city reserves, which she said could be spent at the city’s discretion. When asked for a more precise breakdown of the other $31 million in excess earnings, Trumbull responded, "We cannot offer a more precise breakdown."

Comments are closed.