Chicago's Next Mayor Could Find City Coffers Almost Empty

Chicago's next mayor may find the city's coffers almost empty after Richard M. Daley dipped into reserves to balance this year's budget.

The city expects a $654.7 million deficit for 2011, Bloomberg News reported. Daley balanced this year's budget partly with reserves. If he uses funds from leasing parking meters, garages and a toll road to fill the 2011 gap, the city will be left with only $121 million.

Daley announced earlier this month that he will not seek reelection, after 21 years in office.

"It almost will disappear by the time the mayor leaves office," R. Eden Martin, president of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a civic group, told Bloomberg News. "Cutting $600 million is going to be a catastrophe. It is going to be very, very painful."

Moody's Investors Service cut Chicago's credit rating on $6.8 billion of general-obligation debt to Aa3 from Aa2 before an August bond sale. Moody's cited smaller reserves for the cut. The city's debt burden rose to $5,399 per resident last year.

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