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Mary Ann Smith "hoarding" $1M of available funds

According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times today, 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith has chosen to not yet spend $1M of available 2009 funds from an allotment to her that can be used on neighborhood street, sidewalk, alley and anti-crime improvements. Many Alderman have yet to spend all of their funds and the City says it is partially to blame, as the program menus came out late. Also, the money is not lost – it remains in the Alderman’s office for future use. Smith’s reasoning for not yet spending the money and her future plans for it were also discussed in the article:

Smith spent $142,001 on diagonal parking and another $175,652 to help design a new Great Lakes Park. She has also used menu money to install public art beneath Lake Shore Drive.

But, Smith acknowledged that she “hords” most of her menu money to “seed” projects that “might not happen” otherwise. They include improving retail space in CTA Red Line stations, building dog parks, and enlarging the soon-to-be-built Edgewater Library.

“This is a very precious pool of money to me. With this menu money, I can make unusually good things happen. But, just because you’ve got it doesn’t mean you need to spend it. There’s no rush,” she said.

“Our neighborhood has a wish-list. It’s our job to make it happen. If that means hoarding some of the money, I hang onto it. Every nickel is a prisoner.”

Continue reading the entire article here.



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