At least one Evanston alderman got steamed up last week after residents criticized her decision to vote for a 20 percent hike in aldermanic pay.
Mark Cison, who bought a house in northwest Evanston a little over a year ago, sent all the aldermen an e-mail after the pay hike vote.
Here’s what he told Evanston Now he wrote:
It is absolutely disgusting that you alderman decided to give yourselves a 20 percent pay hike while a vast majority of residents here are struggling with out-of-control property tax hikes, city fees, parking, sales tax increases, etc. To do this without asking or notifying your constituents is appalling. Only Alderman Moran had the class and integrity to oppose this nonsense.
In the one year I’ve lived here, my water bill has increased over 20 percent, my sanitation fees 20 percent, and my property tax bill this year will be substantially higher, even though my house value is down and below 2004 levels at this point.
Evanston alderman already receive far more compensation than most other suburbs, and enjoy ridiculously cheap health insurance for yourselves and your family. Your position is meant to be for a community benefit, not financial rewards. If the pay isn’t high enough for you, then step down and let someone else do your job. I’d love to have the medical insurance benefits you get.
And it may feel like just a "drop in the bucket" to Alderman Hansen (what an insulting and classless comment), but in these times of economic struggle and out of control tax hikes, it matters to US, the residents, and the people you are supposed to be serving.
Shame on all of you for this nonsense. It is unbelieveable that city government, no matter where apparently, simply can not find ways to control spending, and just passed the buck to the taxpayers. These financial pressures on all of us are not a "drop in the bucket" to me or anyone I’ve talked to, and if you can’t be fiscally responsible and think all this constant spending can and will be covered by taxpayers, you’re sadly mistaken. Because we are struggling badly to keep our homes, our jobs, and our lives here.
And somehow you find a way to give yourselves a raise? Lower my property taxes, and then give yourselves a raise.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, saying she got two message like that, responded with an e-mail message of her own, which she also posted to her message board, in which she recounted the many hours of work she’d done for the city in just three days, and then said:
"If you don’t think this service is worth $12,000 a year – then move to the 8th ward, take out a petition and challenge me and my record. Don’t sit home writing hateful, insulting mail – get out there and make a difference. Run for office and get elected. That is what I did."
Cison says he’s not at all happy with that response.
In a note to Evanston Now he writes: "Apparently it is insulting for taxpayers to question where their tax dollars go. It boggles my mind how childish and whiny this response was from Alderman Rainey. She chose to do this job and should step down if it’s too much work for her."