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City faces $1.5M year-end budget shortfall

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.

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