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City budget: Where does the money come from?

Saturday we looked at how the City of Evanston spends our money. Today a look at where the money comes from.

Saturday we looked at how the City of Evanston spends our money. Today a look at where the money comes from.

Lump all of the city’s operations together, and the $203 million in revenue included in the 2009-10 budget can be divided into six major categories.

Service charges – 31.8 percent

User charges for services make up the single biggest chunk of the city budget.

The water and sewer funds combined generate about $33 million — mostly from charges to Evanston residents, but also from water sales to nearby municipalities.

The parking fund generates nearly $22 million — mostly from people who park in the downtown garages, but also from metered spaces around the city.

Participant fees for recreation programs bring in nearly $5 million. Revenue from recycling and other public works programs yields nearly $2 million.

The Fire Department recovers in nearly $1 million in charges for ambulance runs, and the health department gains about half a million in charges for its services.

Real estate taxes – 29.3 percent

Taxes you pay for the privilege of owning real property in Evanston are the second biggest revenue source for the city.

This includes taxes assessed on all real property totaling over $37 million, plus taxes levied in special service areas and tax increment financing districts that add another $18 million.

The real estate transfer tax charged whenever property changes hands was budgeted to add another $3 million this year.

Consumption taxes – 17.7 percent

Buy just about anything in Evanston and the city gets a cut of the transaction.

It gets a share of the general state sales tax that brings in over $9 million and has imposed its own home-rule sales tax that adds nearly another $6 million.

Taxes on various utility services add up to over $10 million.

Other taxes — on motor fuel, parking lot fees, hotel rooms and rental cars, liquor and cigarettes — yield millions more.

Licenses, fees, fines – 6.6 percent

Parking tickets and similar fines bring the city $3.4 million a year. Building permits typically bring in over $3 million and a plethora of other licenses and fees account for about $5 million more.

Other revenue – 10.8 percent

The city gets about $5 million a year in grants from a variety of federal and state programs. And interest earned on various city funds brings in another $5 million.

Police officer and firefighter payroll contributions to their pension funds total about $2 million.

And bond sales for capital improvement projects brought in nearly $8 million — money that, of course, will have to be paid back with interest in future years.

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