The average Evanston homeowner will see a tax increase of 8.2 percent when second installment property tax bills arrive in a few days.

That’s based on data from Cook County Assessor James Houlihan published in the Chicago Tribune this morning.

The average Evanston homeowner will see a tax increase of 8.2 percent when second installment property tax bills arrive in a few days.

That’s based on data from Cook County Assessor James Houlihan published in the Chicago Tribune this morning.

The actual increase for an individual homeowner will vary, depending on changes in the assessed value of the home and other factors.

Since the first installment tax bill was estimated at half of last year’s bill, the average homeowner will actually have to shell out 16.4 percent more with the second installment payment due Dec. 1 than they did with the first installment bill due last March.

The increasing tax bills will hit homeowners who’ve seen housing values decline sharply over the past year. Many are also faced with job losses or pay cuts as a result of the recession.

Evanston’s increase is neither the smallest nor the biggest among its north suburban neighbors.

Bigger hikes are being seen in Skokie at 12.9 percent, Morton Grove at 12.3 percent, and Niles at 11.4 percent. Communities with smaller increases include Wilmette at 6.8 percent, Winnetka at 4.8 percent and Glencoe at 5.3 percent.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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33 Comments

  1. In the last 3 years…
    In the 3 years since we bought our home in Evanston, our taxes have increased by 14% ($8300 -> est. $9450) while our property value has declined by an estimated 19% ($530k -> $430k). Meanwhile the total sales tax has increased by 11% (9% -> 10%), transit fares are set to rise by 50% ($2 -> $2.25 -> $3), and the governor pushes a 50% income tax increase (3% -> 4.5%).

    I never thought I’d say this but I for one will most certainly be voting republican in the next set of elections until the democratic party can get its fiscal act in gear.

    Reply:
    That may not be a viable option in our state house or U.S. house races in Evanston, where, as of the moment, no Republicans have filed to seek the job.
    — Bill

    1. Vote Republican?
      “I never thought I’d say this but I for one will most certainly be voting republican in the next set of elections until the democratic party can get its fiscal act in gear.”

      Yes, Stroger is a bum….but if you think that the Republicans are going to help Cook County, you are crazy.

      The Republicans prefer to cut aid to cities and states..forcing local governments to raise taxes to cover the difference. Boehner and McConnell will cut aid to public transportation (even higher CTA fares), hospitals (Cook County will increase taxes to cover it) while subsidizing rural roads in red states (Bridge to Nowhere) , cotton and peanut farmers in red states.

      1. The opposite of what you said…
        Vote Republican?,

        Saying that Republicans “prefer to cut aid to cities and states…forcing local governments to raise taxes to cover the difference” is sort of a mix-and-match argument, in my opinion.

        For one, it’s a generalization: much like saying “Democrats prefer to take money from people who are working and give it to people on welfare.” Sure it’s true sometimes, but people and issues are more complex than that.

        But even if your argument was true, and a group of elected Republicans somewhere up the chain in the General Assembly in Springfield decided to cut back funding to local governments; said local governments would not have to raise taxes unless they were unwilling to cut back. And if you had a group of Republicans at the Township-level, then they would not raise taxes because it would conflict with their core beliefs.

        The Cook County Assessor, James Houlihan, is an interesting example of the opposite of this; at one point he had nearly a million dollars in his campaign fund, most of it coming from the very public unions whose employees work for the taxing districts on your property tax bill. So when faced with tough decisions like whether to increase taxes or underfund the levies, he chose to increase taxes every time; then he pointed the finger at Springfield because they didn’t give us enough “aid”.

        Cordially,

        David N. Jenkins
        http://WWW.WATCHDOGJENKINS.ORG

  2. I’ve had enough…
    I was raised in a Democrat household and voted Democrat my entire life. But I stopped voting for Democrats, abruptly, in 2008 and I’ll never vote for another one ever again. As if the property taxes weren’t evident enough, they use their Party as a vehicle for public unions – where the homeowner is always in a perpetually losing battle.

    But I’m not just complaining: I’m fighting back. Come to my website and see what I’m doing to get their attention:

    http://www.watchdogjenkins.org

    Have we had enough yet?

  3. Throw the rascals out
    “The Republicans prefer to cut aid to cities and states”

    It’s my understanding Republicans prefer to cut taxes, keep spending down and downsize government, especially during a recession. At least, that’s what many Republicans will tell you.

    In any event, there are NO Republicans in office in Evanston, Chicago, our congressional district and a sparse few in Cook County. In other words, we have been living in a one party system – there’s no political competition. What happens when there is no competition? Corruption, cronyism, lack of accountability, play to pay politics where we get the antics of Blago, Daley, Stroger, Roland Burris, Emil Jones, Schakowsky, Suffredin, Jackson, and so on.

    Let’s not forget our local politicians – all Democrats I believe – keep raising city and school taxes, not laying off anyone, many school employees recently got a RAISE (I believe the City Council got one, too), making insignificant spending cuts in the budget, tried twice to raise the transfer taxes, and seems to be doing nothing about the unsustainable pension mess that previous Democrat pols negotiated on behalf of the unio…er…the taxpayers (the unions supported all the winning city candidates in this year’s election).

    Oh, did I mention that thanks to the Democrats we get higher property taxes despite several years of continuous property decline?

    No thanks. I’m sending a message with my pocketbook and at the voting booth next year. It’s time to fire the bums.

    1. plenty of blame to go around
      If you think that the Republican party is free of corruption, cronyism, lack of accountability, and pay to play politics you are delusional at best. Step into the ‘way back’ machine and gaze in starry-eyed wonder at the multitude of corrupt, fiscally irresponsible Republicans. Have you forgotten the past eight years so soon?

      The problem is not with a political party but with the system and the process. Voters are ultimately responsible for the government and it’s elected body, at any level. It is the voters that need to look in the mirror and decide what type of society they want to create.

      Until voters take seriously their responsibility in creating a government that is fair, just, and fiscally responsible, there is plenty of blame to spread around to every politician from both parties.

    2. The Lonely Elected Republican
      I guess you forgot about me, the Evanston Township Assessor. Yes, I am Republican and the only elected Republican in Evanston until Dec. 31.

      I definitely think we need more Republicans!

      1. Evanston Assessor
        The Evanston Assessor is Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall, the lone Republican elected official in Evanston who is now running for Cook County Assessor.

  4. Time to Move
    As an earlier poster stated, our tax bill has gone up every year since we moved here 3 years ago – $1,000 a year – while our property value has declined. I’m not sure that we have a lot to show for all of the tax increases.

    We bought a house on a corner lot and took for granted that the city took care of the city sidwalks and parkways when we moved here. We were surprised to find city parkway maintenance (cutting grass and raking leaves), snow removal on city sidewalks, and sidewalk repair were all our responsibility. This has been a huge drain on our time and money. To top it off, we have to pay to go to the beach in the summertime. I really wish we had done our research before buying in Evanston.

    I think it’s time to cut our losses and move on. Evanston is nice, but I don’t think it’s worth it. If I move a couple of miles north to Wilmette, I can get better schools, lower taxes (per assessed value), and I won’t have to maintain city property!

    1. I agree. Time to cut our losses and move on.
      Suppose you are a person who is looking into moving into or buying a house/property in Evanston and will be potential future property tax payer in Evanston.

      The house/property you see may look okay and when you factor in the geographical location (close to lake, good transportantion system into Chicago, and there is fine university like NU), it may seem ideal and it would be a good deal for let’s say $300,000.

      Now you read what really goes on in Evanston as reported by Evanston Now for past several years. How would you value that property?

      Some of the issues and things I remember reading over last 3 years EN includes

      – City trying to raise property transfer tax first time for ‘affordable housing’ and then second time to fill up pension liability gaps that are in excess of $140 million. Issue of ‘affordable housing’ is hot issue for some policitians here! However if you really own a property and pay taxes on it, do you really want housing in Evanston be really ‘affordable’? Don’t you want your investment to go up and not be affordable? But city is trying to be creative by trying to create taxes and ordinances to make things ‘affordable’. Well they got their wish! Economy tanked and now everything is ‘affordable’! Wasn’t there some story about how some alderman in this city sponsored some affordable housing somewhere in the city and it sucked up more money and money for this ‘affordable’ housing was reported as being wasted? I remember reading something like this in EN, I am sure Bill can dig up and give us the details on what was reported back then.

      City still has this pension issue that is growing. Guess what, if you thought this years property tax went up high, in about few years as this liability gap exists, the taxes will go up higher!

      – Bunch of great minds in the city hires consulting firm and pay them excess of $100k (I think more than this) of tax payer’s money to study the feasibility of moving the existing civic center. Did city tax payers and residents really make that much complaint about the civic center? Their contractors were complaining about how old the civic center was when they had to go pay high permit fees for remodelling? With the economy like this, when will this debate ever come back? Back when economy was not too bad, they spent tax payer’s money to study this! My point is that city and the great minds we have here wastes tax money when times are not too bad. When times are bad its time to raise taxes higher!

      – There are some crime and people in the lower socio-economic class (who cannot afford to be property tax payer) in bad neighborhoods in the city. So city’s solution, hurt and harass property tax paying property owners by trying to license them for property inspection with registration and fees. Because inspection the property that these lower socio-economic people live in would prevent crimes and problems associated with them! Now to raise more revenue and for the sake of inspection, they want to pass this down and harass condo owners, who also pays rising property taxes.

      – Of course there is constant bickering between city and one big entity which makes Evanston what it is…Northwestern University. City do not realizes that businesses and all these condos and properties around NU are valued higher because of NU! If we didn’t have NU and turned all properties into tax collecting private properties, the very make up of Evanston would be completely different!

      I still have to unload my Evanston property tax money sucking house in Evanston (soon hopefully in few years), so I am crossing my fingers that what I am about to say do not impact me. However I believe what I am asking would be real if anyone chooses to speak out on this make it very public as possible.

      If every potential Evanston real estate buyer right now read some of these stories reported by EN during last 3 years, what would these people do? Would they get excited about joining and becoming Evanston tax paying person? Or would they just walk away?

  5. Absolute power corrupts absolutely
    “The problem is not with a political party but with the system and the process”

    How can the system change when you have an absolutely dominant party locally and statewide? For example, anyone remember when Emil Jones (Obama’s political godfather) last year held up an ethics bill reform for most of the year? The only legislators complaining were Republicans. Finally, Obama with one phone call gets Jones to release the bill, only because it was hurting HIS presidential election.

    What happens afterward? Our Democrat governor panics and starts looking for ways to make money before the bill went into effect. Blago is impeached, then we get Roland Burris, who after his appointment, admits HE tried to buy the senate seat. Yet, the Democrats sat on their hands and let Burris stay in office. I could go on with the corruption rant regarding LOCAL Democrats.

    Even the Democrats on the state level keep ignoring calls for ethics reform, refusing to give up the party’s power and control to give money to desirous Democrats and cut-off money to Democrats who don’t tow the party line. Under that current system, a politician is more beholden to the party leader who has the money bag than to its constituents. Interestingly, the Republicans in Springfield are trying to reform that problem but have little to no help from Democrats. And why should the Dems help – they’re in control.

    “Voters are ultimately responsible for the government and it’s elected body,” you say?

    Consider Schakowsky – NO ONE IS RUNNING AGAINST HER!!!! She has been an incumbent for three terms. Her husband was convicted of fraud (did this happen under Jan’s nose or did she know about it?) Shakowsky used her office to help the unions try and take away the non-profit status of St. Francis hospital only because the hospital refuses to unionize. There’s no competition. No choice.

    Yet, here in Evanston, Cook County, Chicago, our locally elected school district officals, we only find Democrats in office. Where’s the political competition?

    How can voters be responsible for their government when one political party has absolute control with power, money and influence?

    Yes, there have been politicians on both sides of the aisle guilty of corruption. But imagine a political system where only one party rules absolutely.

    The result is continuous property tax increases during a severe recession and a decline in property values that’s been going on for at least three years now.

    1. Different Standard for Politicians
      Schakowsky – NO ONE IS RUNNING AGAINST HER!!!! She has been an incumbent for three terms. Her husband was convicted of fraud (did this happen under Jan’s nose or did she know about it?)
      =======================
      If that was the excuse before the IRS that she did not know what their finances and tax form said, what do you think the IRS would say. But because she is in Congress—nothing. She is not the only one—-among many look at the ‘wink’ at Charlie Rangle and Chris Dodd.

  6. Congress
    True that no one has filed, yet Joel Pollack (Skokie) is running in Congressional 9th as a Republican. He has until Monday to file signatures.

    True Republicans will cut taxes and downsize government, because of Democrats like Blagojevich and Stroger. The friends and family plan has every citizen frustrated to no end. That’s why Fox News had coverage on the Tea Parties across Chicagoland. We pay the highest sales tax and property taxes in the nation. Next to Detroit, we are the most economically depressed city in the US. Even Mississippi has better economic growth than Illinois.

    We are 48th in economic growth and job creation in the nation and yet we are the 5th largest state in the Union. The Democrats had a chance to do a better job than George Ryan did and true that Ryan got arrested and thrown in jail as a result of his activities way back when he was Secretary of State. Blagojevich was way worse and was thrown in jail while in office.

    I’m taxed enough already, so I’m going to start up some TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties promoting those Republican candidates that are small government and low taxes. If the private sector is laying off in this recession, so should the government. This Democrat friends and family plan has cost taxpayers way too much.

    1. party of Lincoln?
      “True Republicans will cut taxes and downsize government, because of Democrats like Blagojevich and Stroger. The friends and family plan has every citizen frustrated to no end. That’s why Fox News had coverage on the Tea Parties across Chicagoland. We pay the highest sales tax and property taxes in the nation. Next to Detroit, we are the most economically depressed city in the US.

      Thanks, gkarl, for proving me correct. The Republican party has been taken over by the teabaggers, who spend their time watching Beck and Hannity on FAUX Noise.

      Note the obligatory reference to ‘Detroit’….what could that mean? And “Next to Detroit, we are the most economically depressed city in the US”…really? How are those sunbelt Republican communities doing? Florida? Las Vegas? Phoenix?

      And do you have any source to back up your claim that we have the highest property tax in the nation?

      1. Amazing
        Mr. Who Knows:

        Your comment “teabaggers” demostrates your ingorance. Such a comment places you on the same level as… say, Schuster, Olberman, Maddow, Mathews, Schultz, Cooper, etc. And, for that matter, Beck and Hannity.

        But, differently, Beck and Hannity are opinion shows which make up perhaps 10% of Fox News broadcasting. You probably worship MSNBC becuase simply it is malicious and vindictive media outlet.

        Hmm, kinda like your entries in this comment board!

        1. the NIMBY tea party
          Dan wrote:

          “Mr. Who Knows:Your comment “teabaggers” demostrates your ingorance. “

          I don’t understand, Dan. Gkarl wrote “That’s why Fox News had coverage on the Tea Parties across Chicagoland.” and “I’m taxed enough already, so I’m going to start up some TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties promoting those Republican candidates “…clearly he is suggesting that he supports Republicans, watches Faux Noise, and is part of the teabagger movement. So it was entirely accurate for me to say that the Republican party has come under the control of teabaggers who watch FAUX.

          One issue that hasn’t really been explored enough is the similarity between the teabagger activists and the NIMBY activists.

          While many of our local NIMBYs are Democrats (Mr. Smith, for example), they often use the same tactics as the right-wing teabaggers.

          For example, the shrill and disruptive behavior of the teabaggers at the town hall meetings reminded me of the shrill and disruptive behavior of the NIMBYs at our council meetings.

          The contradictory arguments advanced by the teabaggers ( Keep the government’s hands of my Medicare! We don’t want more government spending, but we don’t want limits to what the government will pay for!) reminded me of the irrational contradictory arguments of our local NIMBYs ( We need the store fronts at 708 Church because there aren’t any empty stores in Evanston…we have too many empty stores in Evanston…the new condos will be too expensive for Evanston residents…the new condos will be like Cabrini-Green and bring in crime).

          While the teabaggers and NIMBYs come from different socioeconomic groups, they both seem to be motivated by paranoia and fear of the outsider.

          The teabaggers fear the ‘Kenyan Muslim socialist’ president and his allies Barney Frank (the gay Jew from Boston – who seems to have replaced the late Senator Kennedy as the favorite bad guy of the right ) and Nancy Pelosi (from San Francisco – where the chardonnay sipping elites live).

          The NIMBYs fear the dreaded ‘out of town developers’ who want to build skyscrapers that the local Evanstonians can’t afford, or people from Chicago (oh no!) , or national chains who will supposedly force the unique and charming local merchants out of business.

          They both look backwards to a mythical ‘golden age’. For the teabaggers, it was maybe under Reagan…or even better, before FDR and the Warren Court ruined America. For the NIMBYs, it was back before all the development supposedly ruined Evanston, or maybe back in the days of Chuckie Dawes.

  7. Dr. Suess Had it Right
    “So I’d open each cage. I’d unlock every pen, let the animals go, and start over again.”

    I’m afraid that’s what we need to do. Any of you care to be that person? There’s clearly pent up frustration at the local level over higher taxes for the same or less service. I’m ready to vote for the common sense candidate who’s not beholden to a party or entrenched interests and is willing to focus on the real problems confronting our City (not vendors outside Ryan Field, cats, chickens, or temporary retailers who are apparently taking Halloween business away from other retailers). These real problems require smart, reasoned elected officials making tough, courageous decisions that in the end none of us will probably like but will put us on a course for creating a better city for our children and grandchildren. Come on. Who’s going to be the next Gerald McGrew?

  8. Next revenue step compare Assessor and Rental Fee ?
    In an effort to raise more revenue, with apartments, houses and condos having report and pay for rental units, will the city and county compare those reports against the property tax roles for valid “homeowner exemption” for fraud and of course big $$ penalty for false filing ?

    1. Assessor Eckersall address Home. Exempt./Fradulent Filings
      As Evanston Township Assessor, I have addressed this problem on several occasions with the Cook County Assessor’s Office Downtown. As Assessor, I am aware of some taxpayers in Evanston who own more than one parcel yet they are filing on all of their investment properties. The Assessor has the names of these people in their files.

      The County is working on a fine system similar to the one in Florida which penalizes taxpayers who are collecting on these exemptions. The fines are $5,000 for the first offense.

      Hopefully, in the near future, the State of Illinois will enact such a penalty and we will be able to expose the individuals.

      This is another reason I decided to throw my hat into the race for Cook County Assessor to address some of these issues that would benefit taxpayers from such increases in their taxes by penalizing those who are abusing the system.

      1. Vote for YOU??!!!????
        With a tax bill that went up by almost 100% YES- ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!! You’re just another part of the problem, not part of the cure. Give me ONE good reason anyone should keep ANY of the elected officials in office for more than another week, much less wait until the next election?

        Cheats, Liars, Thieves darn near every one of them.

        Everyone in office deserves to be thrown out and replaced. Let them try to get a real job and earn an honest paycheck instead of sucking off the public teat.

  9. 17% increase unfair
    I just got my property tax bill. It went up 17%. Needless to say, I’m pretty angry. And I feel totally powerless to do anything about it right now. I will be voting against everyone currently in office. This is totally unfair. I understand that government moves very slowly and that this is by design. I wouldn’t change that. However, the property tax system needs a serious looking at. This simply should not happen.

  10. End the corruption
    More then a decade ago, a group of small independent Evanston business owners formed an organization called the Evanston Small Business Association. Our mission was to promote keeping business (and therefore taxes and jobs) in Evanston with the program called Shop Evanston First! This campaign was highly successful as we also raised money for McGruff The Crime Fighting Dog.

    The mistake for some of us was getting involved in Evanston politics which meant going up against the “Machine” that controls Evanston.

    At the time the city of Evanston voted on the Hill Development, projections were for an 18 million dollar surplus for Evanston by 2010 if the project were approved. The majority of ESBA members openly predicted quite the opposite with what little information we had to go on regarding the project since so many decisions were made behind closed doors.

    The point to this is not “I told you so” (ok, maybe just a little), but for the Evanston community to understand how the financial collapse happened in the first place. The $8 million dollar deficit was avoidable and hopefully they will learn from their mistakes by ending the corruption that caused the fiscal crises in the first place. One can only hope for change.

    The first step in dealing with public corruption is to expose it and then stop it from happening again. I hope its not too late.

    you can read more about Evanston corruption at http://www.noyesstreet.com (you may want a stiff drink before going there).

    Tom Fischl

  11. I wish it was ONLY 8.2%
    MY tax installment has an almost 100% increase.

    Any Justification for this sort of thing?

    Any new city services?

    How many Police Officers hired?

    New firefighters?

    Teachers?

    Where does a non-connected, non-elected person go to fix this sort of inequity?

    1. An enquiry on downtown real estate taxes
      I hear all these people complaining about large tax increases. I decided to conduct my own enquiry.

      I went to the Cook County Assessor’s site to look up some PIN numbers for Evanston Galleria, Optima Views, Optima Towers, Church St Station, Optima Horizons, and Sherman Plaza. I then went to the Cook County Treasurer’s site to see how much their tax bills changed.

      My preliminary enquiry shows:

      Big increase: Evanston Galleria.
      Around 6% increase: Optima Towers, Church St. Station
      Negligible increase: Optima Horizons
      Decrease: Optima Views

      I am not sure what is going on at Sherman Plaza.

      On the issue of ‘fairness’ or ‘inequity’:
      I believe that Evanston’s taxes are too high, because our schools are expensive, our union pensions are unsustainable, we don’t encourage development, we have wasteful branch libraries, and we spend our efforts fighting Northwestern instead of encouraging enquiring minds.

      But fairness is a different issue. Find some properties which you think are comparable to your own. If they are paying roughly the same amount of taxes that you are paying, it is fair.

      If you think that your home is charming and unique and priceless, then you deserve to pay a lot of taxes. My home, the Historic Who Residence, is similar to just about every other unit in my building, and I am paying similar taxes.

      The taxes are high, but fair.

        1. Sherman Plaza
          Why can’t you determine what is going on at Sherman Plaza?

          I looked at a few units, and they paid $0 in March of 2009, and their bill for December of 2009 appears to be about twice as much as what the 6-month bill should be. So I don’t have any history for Sherman Plaza. It looks like they just got their first real assessment on the developed property.

          1. Sherman Plaza
            when a pin number is newly issued it skips the first installment and puts the entire amount in the second. this is true for all newly constructed buildings.

      1. Taxes—Pension Cost
        Is there anything in the State law that prevents the pensions to be moved to 401k programs like many [most?] private companies have done ?
        If allowed, does the city even have the money to do so are we that far behind ?

        If conversion to 401k is not permitted by the state, if not done already, retirement should be moved to the same rules that private companies have—65 if a combination of age and years of service meet a numerical score. Like wise if the person takes on a part-time or advisory role with the city after retirement, the pension would be reduced.

        1. City Pension and 401k
          A shift to 401k would certainly make the employees have “skin in the game”, force them to think about [and choose] how their money is invested, not depend in the future on how the city is [not]doing and be portable.
          One interesting question is if the city has to propose layouts vrs. reduced hours, or reduced wages, will city workers respond as we have seen in some cities where even fire department unions have voted to layoff firemen rather than take reduced pay or reduced hours—even when those laid-off are their close relatives [low seniority like son-in-law].

      2. Optima Views
        As a unit owner of an Optima Views unit, my taxes went up. I’m interested to hear how you came up with these numbers…

        It’s also interesting to me how downtown Evanston condo owners pay more in taxes than nearby homes, when condo owners generally have no kids and use less resources.

      3. Downtown condo taxes
        I own a condo downtown Evanston. It’s an older building, so it may not be a direct comparison to new developments.

        My taxes went up around 6% compared to last year. This seems to be a result of the increase in assessed value over the last few years.

        I am not complaining about a 6% tax increase, as I think my taxes are very fair compared to what others pay. I do think the assessed values are not in line with the current real estate market, and are not an accurate reflection of current property values.

    2. So our taxes went up, big
      So our taxes went up, big surprise !
      Did the 60% increase for schools mean:
      60% more students [or more likely a continuing decline] ?
      60% test score improvement ?
      60% more students going to college ?
      Or more likely, more administration, more ‘retirement’ bump in pay and benefits, more expensive office furniture for administration, extended contracts with increases for administration, more politically correct programs, etc..
      Does the 20% city increase mean:
      Less crime ?
      Better services ?
      Draw more people to Evanston [beside criminals]?
      Better quality of life reports for and by residents ?
      Or more likely increased pension and benefits and paying for bad contracts in the past that only put-off the day or reckoning , more gifts to selected businesses that the Council picked as ‘winners’, more junk art—and that to non-residents artists, more dumb decisions like the brick sidewalks [that originally caused businesses to close or lose customers] and now need yearly repairs [not to mention the likely falls and probably lawsuits], more administration to cover more regulations [side benefits alienate residents], more feel good programs with no real benefit.
      Probably not—just more and more taxes for less and less benefit.
      P.S. I sure hope the Council and School Board reads EvanstonNow and eventually get in their heads that residents are not happy. Probably will take as the old story goes, a 2×4 to the mules head to get their attention—-maybe bankruptcy and the court turning the city over to NU to get it out of its mess.

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