City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz Friday evening released a proposed budget for 2011 that avoids a general fund property tax increase. But it would see pension and debt service costs raise the city’s overall property tax levy 4.3 percent next year.

The plan calls for cutting $2.2 million in general fund expenses — mainly through layoffs. And it anticipates about $700,000 in new revenue, mainly from increased taxes and fees — including boosts in transfer station charges, the gasoline tax, the electric utility tax and beach token fees.

It also proposes using up $263,000 in reserves from the Dutch Elm disease program.

The budget calls for closing the branch libraries, but leaving total library spending almost unchanged so more resources can be devoted to the main library downtown.

On a percentage basis the city department hit hardest by the general fund cuts would appear to be the Law Department. It has a vacant deputy city attorney position downgraded to assistant city attorney. But most of its apparent budget reduction comes from reassigning a secretarial position to the insurance fund.

The Public Works Department sees a 7 percent spending reduction as the new solid waste program is implemented — contracting out a bigger share of the city’s waste removal services.

The Community and Economic Development Department also sees a 7 percent spending cut, with three staff positions eliminated. Two of those positions are currently vacant.

The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department sees a 5 percent spending cut, with about nine staff positions eliminated.

The City Manager’s office would see a 3 percent spending cut, with the elimination of three switchboard operator jobs partially offset by a proposed two percent pay hike for department heads to partially restore the five percent pay cut they took this year.

The Administrative Services Department would see a 2 percent spending cut, achieved by eliminating two vacant positions.

The Fire and Police departments would each see spending cuts of less than 1 percent, and there’d be no change in spending for Legislative costs — the City Council and City Clerk.

Overall the budget  proposes eliminating 21.65 full-time-equivalent positions, 10 of which are currently vacant. Twelve current employees would lose their jobs.

The budget also includes 12 new full-time-equivalent positions to staff the city’s new 311 non-emergency call center, which becomes a new unit within the Police Department.

The City Council is scheduled to hold its first discussion of the proposed new budget on Saturday morning, Oct. 23.

The new budget covers a 10-month period, as the city transitions from a fiscal year that starts March 1 to one that is in sync with the calendar year.

Related document

Proposed 2011 city budget (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s a head scratcher

    All these budget cuts and yet the City Council and Mayor approve a $1 million new 311 call center with 20 new employees. When it opens, I’m calling the 311 call center to ask why the Council thought it was necessary to create the center in this economic crisis while at the same time the Council cut spending for the police, public works and parks departments. Perhaps I’ll be transferred around in perpetuity to other departments. In any event, I can use the Internet and go to the city’s website and other websites to get info about city programs and departments just as a fast as a 311 call center operator can. Just sayin.

  2. Union staff

    I’m not commenting on whether the 311 call center is a good or bad idea.  I don’t know, but I hope the city is not hiring people as Police or Municipal Union switchboard operators but instead is having that service outsourced.  

    Union employees and their outsized benefit-pension plans are not something we should continue taking on.  Let the private sector contract out the operations and the private sector can also take on all the work comp, benefits and retirement liabilities also.  

  3. Budget cuts yes but increase business the only real solution

    We need all the proposed cuts and more but we will not save ourselves just by that.

    The city needs to stop long-time policies that  force existing business out and new business quickly decide Evanston is not the place for them.  Remember the Council delay over Sears a few years ago ?  Pennys and others building a maul on Clark ?  All the industry [a botteling plant, Rustoliam, shop along Custer] and commerical business [Washington National, Shawn Monahan(sp), department and clothing [Wiebolts, Lytons, Baskins, Famous Footwear, Woolworths, several shoe stores] and on and on.   Think of all the high tech. and intellectual property we lost after their time at the Incubation Center was up—why pay more for rent than in the Loop, be harrassed and looked down on as doing something [hard work, creating jobs and making money] that does not fit with the upper class Evanston image.  Care about the poor, allow jobs to be created—you won’t get that by higher taxes and pushing business out.

    The endless zoning hearings and reversals, groups like the west Central Street planning committe that tells business they don’t have a ghost of a chance setting up or even getting a timely decision.  Harassment like sign inspector, ever shifting policy, review boards and the like not to mention high taxes and a feeling that they are not really wanted [i.e. business is really a dirty word] do not make Evanston a place business wants to come to.

    Tax breaks and ‘picking winners’ is not necessary or wanted—just get off the back of business and admit that revenue/profit is not a dirty word and taxes [increase] a good word.

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