For voters in the few Evanston wards with City Council contests this spring, a vital question is whether the city is better off now that it was four years ago, at the start of their alderman’s current term.
We hope you’ll offer your thoughts on that question in our comments, and plan to offer some facts and figures to stimulate the discussion.
To start, here’s a chart that shows the change in total net city spending over the course of the last two City Councils.
When the aldermen elected in 2005 took office, they inherited a budget with net spending totalling $155 million. The last budget they adopted, for fiscal year 2009-10, showed a 31 percent increase in spending — to $203 million, even though the recession and housing market collapse that began in 2007 was already well underway.
The current City Council’s final budget, for fiscal year 2013, also shows a spending increase, to $215 million. But the growth has been much less, just 6 percent over the four-year period.
A look at how the pace of spending growth was slowed in our next installment.
If you’d like to dig into the city budget numbers yourself, you find the data on the city’s website.