A dozen fee and tax change ordinances on tap


A dozen ordinances changing Evanston taxes and fees are scheduled for introduction at City Council Monday night as aldermen near a vote on the city’s 2018 budget.

Here’s a rundown of the proposals:

  • Home rule taxes — One measure would standardize the due dates, deductions and late fees for a variety of home rule taxes the city imposes. The change is billed as making bookkeeping simpler for local businesses by standardizing city tax payment deadlines with those imposed by the state and county. It will also eliminate deductions offered businesses that were intended to compensate for the bookkeeping costs.
  • Water and sewer rates — One ordinance raises water rates, while another lowers sewer rates. The goal is to keep the combine rate the same while providing more funds for water system improvements now that bonds for earlier sewer system improvements are being paid off. Nearly a third of the city’s water mains are more than 100 years old and considered to be in need of replacement in the not-very-distant future.
  • Transportation network tax — The city plans to impose a 20-cent per ride tax on Uber, Lyft and similar ride-hailing services. Chicago already imposes a 52-cent per ride tax on rides that begin or end in that city. If a ride started here and ended there, or vice-versa, the trip would be subject to both taxes.
  • Parking meter penalties — The city plans to increase the fine for parking at an expired meter from $10 to $20. City staff says the equivalent fines in some other towns are $30 in Oak Park, $35 in Skokie, $38 in Wilmette and between $50 and $65 in Chicago. The fine in Evanston apparently hasn’t been increased in more than 40 years.
  • Parking meter rates — The city plans to standardize the parking meter rate at $1 per hour throughout the city. It’s now $1 downtown and $0.75 elsewhere. The ordinance would also standardize meter operating hours citywide at 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Those now are the hours downtown, while in other areas the meter hours now are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Parking garage rates — The city plans to increase the monthly rate at its city-owned garages from $95 to $110.
  • Vacation rental tax — The city plans to expand the scope of its 7.5 percent hotel-motel tax to also apply to vacation rental units.
  • Building permit fees — The city plans to increase Planning and Zoning Division service fees by a minimum of 10 percent and dramatically increase some fees. For example, under the new building demolition fee schedule, the charge for a permit to demolish a 20,000 cubic foot house would go from $150 to $1,700. City officials say comparable demo fees in neighboring towns are $800 in Skokie and $4,500 in Wilmette.
  • Historic preservation fees — The city plans to radically increase fees for review of construction, renovation and demolition projects in historic districts. For example, fees for review of major alterations would go from $35 to $500 and for review of the propose demolition of a landmark structure would rise from $500 to $5,000. There would also be a new $100 fee to nominate a building as a landmark. A staff report says the current fees don’t come close to covering the cost of staff time devoted to reviewing the projects.
  • Building contractor fee — The city plans to expand its registration of contractors to cover additional trades. Fees for general contractors would be set at $125, and for all other trades at $100.
  • Rooming house fee — The city plans to adjust its rooming house fees by reducing the flat annual fee from $166 to $150 per property and increasing the fee per roomer from $26 to $28. The change is expected to result in a 7 percent increase in revenue from the fee — which primarily affects Northwestern University dormitories.

More details about the proposed changes are available online.

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