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City budget to top a quarter-billion next year

The Evanston City Council tonight is scheduled to adopt a 2012 city budget that calls for $250.4 million in spending next year before interfund transfers.

In nearly two months of budget review, aldermen managed to cut City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz's spending plan by just half a percentage point. His original budget proposal, released Oct. 7, called for spending $251.4 million.

While they reduced the manager's proposed 8 percent increase in property taxes to 5 percent, the aldermen also voted to increase a variety of fees and other charges.

Those include a 36 percent increase in the monthly fee for a large garbage cart, a 50 percent increase in parking meter rates outside the downtown area, and a 33 percent increase downtown, as well as increases in most parking fines, other than those for meter violations.

The aldermen also voted to drop the manager's plan to layoff four forestry workers and privatize the city's crossing guard program.

On a net expenditures basis, city spending in 2012 will be up nearly 11 percent from its last 12-month budget two years ago.

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