Mayor Lightfoot warns city about budget deficit while spending over $100,000 on upgrades to her office and private rooftop garden

Mayor Lightfoot warns city about budget deficit while spending over $100,000 on upgrades to her office and private rooftop garden

While Mayor Lightfoot was using taxpayer dollars to make upgrades to her office and private rooftop garden, Chicagoans were being forced to pay higher taxes and fees in an attempt to address the city’s historic deficit

April 15, 2021

While Chicagoans were being forced to pay higher property taxes to address the city’s historic budget deficit, Mayor Lightfoot was using taxpayer dollars to make unnecessary upgrades to her office. Lightfoot lined up taxpayer funded upgrades to her office’s conference room totaling more than $100,000.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, in addressing the city’s historic budget deficit of over $1 billion, Mayor Lightfoot “pushed through $93 million property tax hike” and also introduced a “plan that for the first time would issue speed camera tickets to Chicago motorists captured on film traveling at as little as 6 mph over the speed limit.” Despite all of these attempts to tighten the city’s budget deficit at the expense of taxpayers, the mayor used an additional $10,000 of taxpayer dollars to upkeep a private, closed-to-the-public rooftop garden that sits atop City Hall, that the mayor uses often.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Lightfoot spent $104,682 on the taxpayer-funded conference room upgrades, a figure that included roughly $66,000 on equipment and $38,000 on labor, records show…

Records show Lightfoot also spent about $9,000 on an “EagleEye” camera and videoconferencing kit, $6,000 on a touch screen TV with built-in apps, and $488 on a wall mount for “extra heavy” TVs, records show. The mayor also spent almost $7,000 on a presentation switcher, $1,000 on a phone dialer key pad, and $919 for a ceiling microphone…

Before the upgrades, Lightfoot’s conference room had access to equipment that allowed the mayor and other officials to watch live video. In March 2020, the Tribune interviewed Lightfoot there just before she announced the historic shutdown of Chicago’s Lakefront Trail. At the time, a smaller screen against the wall was airing live footage from Lakefront Trail video cameras…

Records released by the city also show that, around the same time Lightfoot’s administration was upgrading her conference room last summer, she was working to beautify City Hall’s private rooftop garden…

Records show the city spent $47,864 on rooftop garden maintenance in 2018, $47,744 in 2019, and $57,603 in 2020, with the extra $10,000 coming after the mayor asked for improved maintenance.

“While Mayor Lori Lightfoot was using taxpayer dollars to make upgrades to her office and private rooftop garden, Chicagoans were once again forced to pay higher taxes and fees in an attempt to address the city’s historic deficit,” said Kayleen Carlson, executive director of Illinois Rising Action. “Illinois and Chicago taxpayers alike continue to be used to plug budget holes all while Democrats in Springfield and city hall continue their out-of-control spending, treating taxpayers like their own personal piggy banks.”

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