Watch CBS News

Mayor Brandon Johnson's plan to borrow $1.25 billion for affordable housing delayed

CBS News Live
CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson's plan to borrow $1.25 billion over the next five years to fund affordable housing and other economic development projects across the city hit a temporary roadblock on Wednesday, as the mayor's allies delayed a final City Council vote on the measure.

The City Council Finance Committee had approved the measure earlier Wednesday morning, but when the full council met on Wednesday afternoon, Finance Committee Chair Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) moved to delay a final vote on the proposal.

The full City Council will meet again on Friday afternoon to take up the measure.  

The Finance Committee's 20-9 vote on Wednesday to back the mayor's borrowing plan came only after Johnson agreed to give aldermen additional oversight over the effort.

The mayor's goal is to borrow $250 million a year through 2028 to fund efforts to expand affordable housing, and boost small businesses and nonprofits, while allowing dozens of TIF districts to expire. TIF districts divert a portion of property tax revenue away from various taxing bodies for up to 23 years to set that money aside for economic development initiatives.

Johnson administration officials have said it will cost $81 million a year in debt service to borrow $250 million a year for the project. Overall, the mayor's borrowing plan would cost the city $2.4 billion through 2061. The Johnson administration has said the project would be funded with property tax revenue that returns to the city's accounts as TIF districts expire.

Last week, facing pushback from aldermen who complained the mayor's original borrowing plan lacked transparency, the Johnson administration agreed to some changes to the proposal to give the City Council more oversight.

The changes would require the City Council to approve all individual projects of more than $5 million, and mandate quarterly progress updates from the Chicago Department of Housing and Chicago Department of Planning and Development, rather than yearly updates.

Some aldermen have said the threshold for City Council approval of individual projects should be lowered to $1 million, but the Finance Committee on Wednesday rejected that change to the mayor's plan before sending the measure to the full City Council.

Ald. Bill Conway (34th) last week had sought to downsize the mayor's borrowing plan from $1.25 billion to $350 million, but his proposal was voted down.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.