Lightfoot outlines COVID-19 relief spending in $16.7 billion budget
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday unveiled her $16.7 billion pandemic "recovery budget" for the coming year, including plans to spend about $1.9 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds. [Health News Illinois 9.21.2021]
Of the federal dollars, nearly $1.2 billion will be used to replace revenue losses in 2021 and 2022 stemming from the pandemic, with $782.2 million allocated for this year's budget and $385 million for next year. An additional $152.4 million is set aside for revenue replacement in 2023.
Along with the budget, Lightfoot also introduced the Chicago Recovery Plan, a strategic plan for how the city will employ resources to respond to the negative impacts of COVID-19 and drive economic recovery. The $1.9 billion in investments will be paid for through federal relief funds, as well as the city’s corporate fund and other local funds.
“With $1.9 billion in key and enhanced investments, we will develop Chicago into a safer, stronger and more prosperous place in which people can safely raise a family, build a business and make a better life for themselves,” Lightfoot said. “As much as these investments are a commitment to our city’s immediate and most urgent needs, they are also bridges to the brighter future that is just over the horizon.”
The investments include $86 million to increase access to mental health services, $144 million to connect families with resources to improve health outcomes and $202 million to expand homelessness initiatives and housing opportunities.
“With this recovery and resiliency budget, we not only have the opportunity to deepen our commitment to being good financial stewards, but also to lead our residents into a better tomorrow,” Lightfoot said.
The budget also calls for additional funding for a recent pilot program for 911 alternate response initiatives, including 911 call diversion and establishing alternate destinations for patient transport.
Lightfoot announced last month the city is looking at a revenue shortfall of $733 million next year.
The estimated 2020 revenue loss totals $1.4 billion, according to the budget overview.
The proposal will need approval from the full city council, who will take it up later this year.