Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to vote on an Evanston Township budget that will arrive in their packet with no recommendation from the council’s Human Services Committee.

The committee this week voted against recommending approval of the budget after aldermen on the committee failed to get answers they found satisfactory to questions about the budget.

Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to vote on an Evanston Township budget that will arrive in their packet with no recommendation from the council’s Human Services Committee.

The committee this week voted against recommending approval of the budget after aldermen on the committee failed to get answers they found satisfactory to questions about the budget.

Those questions focused on what Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, described as high adminstrative costs in running the township’s general assistance program.

In addition, Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, objected to a proposed 15 percent pay hike for the deputy township assessor.

“In these times when we’re laying off people at the city, I do not support that. Maybe the most anybody should get is 4 percent,” Holmes said.

Grover complained that the township spends 37 percent of its budget on administrative expenses.

She said that’s roughly twice what the Evanston Community Foundation, where she used to work, spent on administration, and at the foundation that included fundraising staff, a role not present in township government.

She asked whether the townshp had ever undergone an “operational audit” to determine whether it’s being run as effeciently as possible.

Township Supervisor Patricia Vance said there hasn’t ever been such an audit. She said that, aside from questions about its cost, “I don’t have a problem otherwise” with having one done.

But she defended the township’s current level of staffing. “We have the personnel we need at this time,” Vance said.

Grover also questionned the township’s decision in 2005 to extend its lease on its privately-owned office space from 2008 to 2013, and whether the township supervisor had the authority to sign the lease without getting approval of the aldermen, who also serve as township trustees.

A further extension of the lease could block efforts by aldermen to trim township costs by moving township offices back to the Civic Center.

Vance said it was her understanding that the lease only required her signature. A city attorney told aldermen that the corporation counsel’s office is looking into that issue.

With the aldermen facing a June 30 deadline to approve a township budget, a motion to recommend the budget to the full council failed 4-1, with only Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, voting for it.

The motion to send the budget to the council floor without a recommendation was then approved unanimously.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. Give taxpayers a break – eliminate the Township

    We don't even need the Township – it should be eliminated. What better time to eliminate a duplicative service than during a severe recession?

    The Evanston City Council last year increased the Township Assessor's budget 80 percent!

    In March, Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson, a former Evanston Democrat Party leader and Realtor, asked the Council to allow her to receive a pension for her part-time elected office. Other alderman wondered if they would qualify for a pension.

    So the aldermen voted to refer the pension issue back to the Human Services Committee for more discussion. And now someone wants to give the township the deputy assessor a 15 percent pay raise.

    I wonder if the Human Services Committee has decided on the pension issue? Because it was reported that City Clerk Rodney Greene signed a document that had been submitted to the pension system, claiming aldermen had already approved such a resolution for the assessor on Jan. 11, 2010. That was a long time ago.

    What's going on with all these perks at the Township? Why do the part-time elected aldermen want to know if they qualify for a pension under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund?

     

  2. Township Assessor

    The Evanston Township Assessor's 2010/2011 budget  cost an average home in Evanston ($250,000) $4.80 in 2009 property taxes paid in 2010.  This calculation only includes the minimum Homeowners exemption. 

    Any taxpayer who received a Senior exemption, Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze exemption, Expanded Homeowner exemption or the Long Time Occupant (adjunct to the expanded h/o exemption) exemption paid less than $4.80.

    Nicholas B. Pavletic

    Deputy Assessor of Evanston Township

    1. Assessor’s Budget

      As a taxpayer and Former Township Assessor, I feel the budget is way out of control. You do not need three people in the office when we do not have a reassessment cycle. Further more, property transfers are way down compared to when I was in office and we had over 1200 per year. Also, home permits were between 5,000 and 6,000 per year and at this point, I am sure they do not come anywhere close to this figure. The projected increase for the Deputy Assessor hopefully does not pass. I had to cut my Deputy Assessor when her salary was right around the proposed level for the new budget. If you cut the Assistant's job, I could see raising the Deputy's salary but not at this time.The budget is $50,000 – $60,000 over what it should be. All salary increase should be frozen for the year.

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