CHICAGO - Chicago-area governments should follow the City Colleges of Chicago's lead by holding their property tax levies steady and offering backup plans for possible state aid cuts, according to a report from a local business-funded government watchdog group on the colleges' $492 million fiscal 2010 budget.

The budget includes a spending increase of just under 1% over the previous year and relies on a 9.7% tuition increase to help offset possible state revenue shortfalls. Tuition and fee revenues are expected to increase by $8.7 million. Full-time enrollment rose by 10% between fiscal 2008 and 2009. The system intends to hold the tax levy steady at $126.2 million for two years.

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