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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Conor Gaffney (773) 278-0101; (302) 236-5433 (mobile)

May 13, 2009

Flores, Colon, and Reilly call for greater oversight of City asset lease revenue

Chicago Aldermen Manuel Flores (1 st ), Rey Colon (35 th ), and Brendan Reilly (42 nd ) introduced today an ordinance to publish and track documents pertaining to City asset lease agreements worth more than $10 million, such as the leasing of the Chicago

Skyway, the Chicago Downtown Public Parking System and the Chicago Parking Meter System. The ordinance would make all documents available online in a searchable format at a single location and provide a single accounting document to track the appropriations, income earned, investments, and future budget distributions of proceeds generated through the lease of City assets.

The City Asset Lease Agreement Disclosure Ordinance follows on the heels of Aldermen Flores and Waguespack’s TIF Sunshine Ordinance, passed on April 22, 2009, which makes all Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Agreement documents available online at a single location in a similar searchable format.

“This is the next step in our efforts to make Chicago government more transparent and more accountable to the public,” said Flores. “We need to provide the public with the details of agreements, such as the Skyway and parking meter leases, which have brought in more than $3.5 billion in revenue to the City. The public needs to see where this money is coming from and where it is going.”

Currently, accounting details from City asset lease agreements are available online. However, the information is scattered across several websites in lengthy budget documents. The ordinance would make this information accessible by creating a single accounting document, updated quarterly, on the City of Chicago Department of Finance website to track monies spent and generated in City asset lease agreements.

“Our City assets are worth billions of dollars and they belong to the people,” said Reilly. “Recent asset lease agreements have generated tremendous revenue for the City and Chicago taxpayers deserve an honest accounting of each dollar of that revenue. Requiring the City to publish a quarterly accounting document will ensure that the people can review their government’s balance sheets.”

“We can make government more efficient through accountability,” said Flores. “Public oversight and civic engagement not only prevent the misuse of taxpayer dollars, but also promote a better understanding of and dialogue with City government.”

For more information, please contact Alderman Flores’ office at (773) 278-0101.

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CITY ASSET LEASE AGREEMENTS DISCLOSURE ORDINANCE

WHEREAS, The City of Chicago is committed to promoting transparency, openness and accountability in government; and

WHEREAS, Achievement of these laudable goals will be greatly enhanced if essential documents pertaining to City asset lease agreements worth more than $10,000,000 are made readily accessible for review by interested persons in both written form and as electronic, searchable files posted on the City of Chicago's, Department of Finance website; and

WHEREAS, City asset lease agreements, such as those pertaining to the Chicago Skyway ($1,820,000,000) the Chicago Downtown Public Parking System ($563,000,000) and the Chicago Parking Meter System ($1,156,500,000) have generated an exceptional amount of revenue; and

WHEREAS, The City asset lease agreements specifically designate how the proceeds generated from the leases are to be utilized; and

WHEREAS, The Comptroller, as the fiscal agent for the City of Chicago, has the duty to exercise general supervision over the receipt, collection or disbursement of city revenues and all funds required to be in the custody of the city treasurer; and

WHEREAS, The Comptroller, as the City’s fiscal agent, should also have the duty to keep the citizenry informed by providing accounting information detailing the utilization of City asset lease agreement proceeds including, but not limited to, the appropriation, investment, distribution and income earned from said proceed funds; and

WHEREAS, The City asset lease agreement documents set forth in the ordinance below are public records within the meaning of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and, as such, the contents of those documents, as well as accounting information detailing the utilization of City asset lease proceeds, may be lawfully disclosed by the City to its citizenry; and

WHEREAS, By making City asset lease agreements and accounting information regarding these agreements available for review as a matter of course and without the need for a FOIA request, the City of Chicago will meet its duty to provide an open, public accounting of the utilization of these public lease assets; and

WHEREAS, A single accounting document, updated quarterly, that details the appropriations, investments, interest income earned, and future budget year distributions of City asset lease agreements would provide the public with a comprehensible single point of access and achieve a high standard of transparency; and

WHEREAS, An ongoing commitment to publishing City asset lease agreements and accounting information regarding these agreements will have the beneficent effect of

encouraging public participation in government by enhancing oversight of the utilization of City asset leasing funds; now, therefore,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO

SECTION 1. The above recitals are expressly incorporated herein and made a part of this ordinance.

SECTION 2. Section 2-32 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago is hereby amended by inserting the language underscored, as follows:

2-32-030 Comptroller-Powers and Duties as Fiscal Agent

The comptroller shall be the fiscal agent of the city and as such shall be charged with

and shall exercise general supervision over all officers of the city charged in any manner with the receipt, collection or disbursement of the city revenues and all funds required to be in the custody of the city treasurer.

It shall be the duty of the City of Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer to post City Asset Lease Agreements and accounting information detailing the utilization of City asset lease proceeds as required by Section 2-32-035 on the City of Chicago, Department of Finance website.

(The remainder of this section is unaffected by this ordinance)

SECTION 2. Chapter 2-32 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago is hereby amended by inserting the language underlined as follows:

2-32-035 City Asset Lease Agreements (CALA) Disclosure Ordinance

The following City Asset Lease Agreement documents shall be made publicly available as electronic, searchable files on the City of Chicago Department of Finance website:

  • 1. The ordinances establishing the leasing of the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System,

the Chicago Downtown Public Parking System and the Chicago Metered Parking System, including all attachments, and any amendments thereof.

  • 2. A separate accounting document detailing the allocation of lease proceeds including,

but not necessarily limited to, appropriations, investments, interest income earned, and distributions to future budget years. This document should also detail the payment of all

fees and expenses related to the lease transaction. Additionally, the document should list the names and fees paid to all financial consultants, auditors and/or financial institutions hired by the city to invest and manage City asset lease proceed funds.

  • 3. A quarterly update of the accounting document for each city asset lease agreement.

SECTION 3. This ordinance shall take full force and effect on August 31, 2009.

_____________________ Manuel Flores Alderman, 1 st Ward

_____________________ Brendan Reilly Alderman, 42 nd Ward

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_____________________ Rey Colon Alderman, 35 th Ward

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