CITY HALL — The mayor touted a more than 50 percent increase in the monthly 911 emergency surcharge on phones as a cure for the city's pension problems Wednesday.
Following earlier action by the General Assembly, the City Council on Wednesday approved a hike in the 911 surcharge from $2.50 a month for each line to $3.90 a month. That will eventually provide an extra $40 million a year for city coffers, to be spent, as demanded by law, on the 911 call center and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Yet, according to Emanuel, it will also enable the city to swing $50 million in capital funds from the emergency system to pension payments demanded by law next year.
"We avoided an increase in the property tax," Emanuel said, putting off for at least 16 months what he had called a "pension cliff."
"We secured the pension of working men and women who work for the city," he added.
Ald. Edward Burke (14th), who shepherded the increase through as chairman of the Finance Committee, said it would "release some of the pressure on the city budget."
The increase takes effect Sept. 1 for wireless and land lines. A 9 percent surcharge on prepaid wireless phones takes effect Oct. 1. That will produce $12 million in additional revenue this year, and $40 million next year. The city spends $140 million a year on emergency services, including 911.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: