CHICAGO — Calling for "more substance" on Chicago's proposed 2013 budget, Ald. Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward said a handful of aldermen are considering a move to hold neighborhood public hearings on the issue.
"We're organizing it right now," Waguespack said. "We just have to see if we can pull it off."
According to Waguespack, other aldermen interested in holding neighborhood budget hearings include Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward, Ricardo Munoz of the 22nd Ward, Nicholas Sposato of the 36th Ward and John Arena of the 45th Ward.
Waguespack called it "a detriment" that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ended the practice of holding public hearings across the city, as Mayor Daley typically did, in favor of more restricted and controlled "roundtable" discussions.
"There needs to be more substance there," Waguespack said. "I think it's very important to have hearings out there so that people understand."
"We used a different model this year to try and get meaningful input from people throughout Chicago, which included smaller group discussions so that people felt like they had a voice in a more personal budget process," said mayoral budget spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle.
She added: "These roundtable discussions were live-streamed as well, so anyone could watch from anywhere. We also set up chicagobudget.org, like we did last year, so that people could submit ideas. So far, we’ve received more than 1,000 votes on ideas that have been submitted."
Hoyle said citizens could still take part in budget hearings set for the City Council.