The mayor’s budget task force this evening adopted its final report with several long-range recommendations for dealing with Evanston’s financial issues.

The group will report to the City Council Monday that, among other things, officials should:

  • Explore eliminating township government and the separate park districts in the city as a way to increase efficiency and achieve tax savings.
  • Bring city employee benefits more in line with those in the private sector.
  • Make strategic use of tax incentives to encourage economic development that will create more jobs, increase the tax base and improve the livability of the city without disadvantaging existing businesses.
  • Prioritize and re-evaluate city services and determine where it may be appropriate to outsource work or generate more revenue for the city by “insourcing” — providing services to nearby communities.
  • Examine tax exempt properties to determine whether any are improperly classified as tax exempt or are being leased to non-exempt entities that should be paying leasehold taxes.

The committee members were divided on whether the city’s economic development strategy should include further development along the lakefront. 

The nine-member task force was appointed by Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl 11 months ago..

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Budget task force? Another joke?

    Having gone to several of the task force meetings, it was a pretty big joke! Most of the time several of the members got off on  very silly topics such as their summer vacations.

    Also no real discussions of the topics occurred with any decisions being reached.  At the previous meeting Wally and the Mayor showed up, The Chair then went through the list of agenda  topics claiming what the group supported or did not support.

    Attendance was spotted at best – one of the member only showed up to one meeting.  Also for the last meeting – 3 out of the six members arrived late!

    The list you see was made up in the end.   I think others who attended the meeting would verify the qualiity of the entire process was marginal at best.

    The only good point is Marty Lyons brought forth many good topics for discussion which the group did not discuss!  Marty did try numerous times to get these people to take positions. As of the last meeting several of them were saying they need to go out and understand the communnity goals, and they could not decide on any thing at this time!


  2. the list seems good

    This seems like a reasonable list of things to do to help save money.  Not sure why some of them need debating.  Surely there is some city official who already is responsible for looking into tax exempt properties.  Tell that person we expect him/her to ramp up efforts.  Enforcing existing law does not require a debate.

    1. Budget Task Force list seems like a good start

      I agree, ME AGAIN. The list of items reported here seems like a good start.

      I do wonder about item 2 – Bring city employee benefits more in line with those in the private sector. I presume that means reducing benefits for city employees since most in the private sector if they still have jobs have not had pay raises in years.

    2. Sign committee

      The mayor is looking for three members for the Sign Board.  No wonder city finances are so bad if we even have a sign committee.  What’s next, a committee to study the effects of color of signs on mental iliness? The city keeps funding these committes who only discourage business and must make Evanston look like a city of boobs.

  3. Tax Incentives

    That concerns me.  It is the Councl ‘picking winners.’  Remember they gave money to help Borders move that Borders did not even request.  Made Dave’s Italian Kitchen move long before construction would begin and thus had to pay compensation, fences for a downtown restuarant, wanting to give big gift to west side grocery and on and on. 

    They don’t have a good record in ‘picking winners’ or supporting them afterward—remember the Research Park?

    Until taxes and the constant harassment of business changes, why would they come to Evanston.

  4. The Nuclear Option

    The most prudent measure the city of Evanston could take regarding its fiscal woes would be to conduct an independent forensic audit going back 15 years. There is ‘settled law’ that the City of Evanston engaged in corruption years ago that many believe led to the current financial crises. Follow the money.
    If it is determined after the audit that Evanston did engage in illegal activity that led to our current unsustainable debt obligations, then the appropriate measure would be to file for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy and renegotiate contracts that the taxpayers can afford.
    Band-Aid measures and increasing taxes are fiscally irresponsible – in my opinion.
    1. Waste of Resources

       Why would the City waste scarce funds and resources on an independent forensic audit of a 15-year period?  The citizens of Evanston already know that the Council mismanaged and is mismanaging the City’s finances.

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