Politics

Chicago City Council meeting: Wrigley Field deal, parking tax and city stickers at issue

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A controversial new parking tax and will a deal to renovate Wrigley Field ever happen?

Those were some of the hot topics that came up at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, along with a new way to purchase vehicle stickers.

Say goodbye the long lines, for over a hundred years city stickers have been sold at the same time of the year.

The City Council approved a plan to begin selling the sticker year-round, similar to the system used by the secretary of state for license plates.

"Constituents have told me they have to take a day off of work to purchase a city stickerit's unacceptable," City Clerk Susana Mendoza said.

Besides reducing long lines, Mendoza says the city will save money by reducing overtime costs. The new sticker will put an end to the annual sticker contest. The overhaul is the first since 1908, the last time the Cubs won a world series.

The time has come to stop doing business the way it has always been done," she said.

And while a Cubs World Series is also long overdue, the Cubs , neighborhood groups and rooftop owners are still working on a deal that would allow a huge Wrigley Field renovation project. 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney said each side must give, but the details on night games signage and parking keep changing.

"We've got to make sure we know what each side is agreeing to before moving forward," Tunney said.

Wrigley Field is a big draw for tourists and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly is concerned that a new parking tax passed will drive tourists away especially those who drive to Chicago. The parking tax will go from a sliding scale to a flat percentage.

Reilly says people who park overnight at hotels will see their bills go up starting July 1.

"I would argue we need to be careful about any additional fees we are adding to the tourism experience in Chicago," Reilly said.

He was one of six alderman who voted against the parking tax hike, which was proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel argued that a fixed percentage is likely to save consumers who pay less the $25 a day to park money. He was unavailable to answer reporters' questions Monday because he had to attend a luncheon with First Lady Michelle Obama.

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