City officials say Evanston is facing the likelihood of a $1.5 million general fund budget shortfall when its fiscal year closes at the end of February.

The gap is largely a result of uncertainty about whether property tax revenue scheduled to be paid the city by the county will arrive on time.

City officials say Evanston is facing the likelihood of a $1.5 million general fund budget shortfall when its fiscal year closes at the end of February.

The gap is largely a result of uncertainty about whether property tax revenue scheduled to be paid the city by the county will arrive on time.

Because of delays in sending out property tax bills, Administrative Services Director Joellen Earl says, money that would usually arrive in February may not show up until March, after the new fiscal year begins.

The city has managed to trim projected full-year expenses to about $750,000 less than the $86.6 million budgeted for the year be imposing a hiring freeze and carefully monitoring spending.

But revenue projected full-year general fund revenue is falling about $2.5 million short.

In addition to the property tax issue, the city has fallen far short of projections on how much it would take in from charging a $1.75 per bag fee for disposing of yard waste.

The yard waste program wasn’t implemented until later in the fiscal year than originally planned, and faced with the steep charge for stickers for the bags, more residents than expected opted to buy yard waste carts instead.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz called the budget situation “good, but not great” and noted that the city can transfer money from other funds or reduce its general fund reserves to close the gap if necessary.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Some Accountable of city staff, please!

    The yard waste bag sales are over $700,000 short on projection – it has no relationship to year end implementation of the program. Well over 1,000 yard waste carts were purchased recently. People understood the high price of stickers and took the cheaper option. Wally now has this $700,000 short fall to deal with in the budget from now on, on top of the other problems. This will not improve next year people are not going to rush out and buy stickers. I would suggest the city hold the department and manager responsible for this mistake. The city should privatize the entire operation of trash, recycling and yard waste to make up for this short fall. The bogus numbers presented last year, have now come back to bite the city – Wally you own this one!

  2. Though there isn’t $700,000

    Though there isn’t $700,000 worth of sticks sitting in piles on my lawn, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the City taxes my compost heap(s).

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.