Faced with projections showing millions of dollars in revenue shortfalls, Evanston aldermen are scheduled to approve plans Monday for an effort to set priorities for all of the city’s spending.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and the city’s budget staff say they see a $3 million deficit for the city’s $114 million general fund yext year as well as the need to fund more than a third of a billion dollars in capital improvements over the next five years.
The city is already committed to taking on an additional $1.5 million in debt service costs for the new Robert Crown Community Center and faces increasing spending to try to reduce funding gaps in the city’s public safety pension funds.
The city’s financial projections aren’t all negative, though. Bobkiewicz says the closure of the Washington National Tax Increment Financing District will add $1 million in new regular property tax revenue annually starting next year and the city hopes to net perhaps an additional $500,000 a year in proceeds from additional water sales to Morton Grove and Niles starting next year.
Bobkiewicz says city staff has already identified programs to be evaluated and evaluation metrics for the priority review.
He plans to have departmental staff score and rank their own programs by the end of this month and then have inter-departmental teams and the city’s budget team score and rank all programs next month.
That will be followed by an April 30 City Council workshop to score and rank all the programs and a public outreach process in May, with a final presentation of the results at the June 25 City Council meeting.