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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. They didn’t see this coming.
      Wally and the city council are now honorary members of the Evanston Lions Club, in jest only. The real Lion’s Club is a respected organization. I can think of a couple of ways to save millions. Cut the unneeded branch library out of the new Robert Crown Center and don’t lease the mansion,”mistake on the lake”, to the non-profit for 1 dollar a year or we will all hear the same money sucking sound that we heard from the EAC for all those years.

      1. A lot of people agree……
        Wally and council people are blind..and/.or they just don’t care. How many things that you mentioned, plus other major monetary flubs, does the general public seem to realize that THEY don’t? The nonsensical running of our city year after year, is an embarrassment to those of us who have common sense. And yet council people get elected, re-elected, and they keep renewing the city manager (mangler) contract. And they wonder why people are moving away? Get a clue everybody!

        1. No wonder people are here to stay.
          Evanston’s population has stayed fairly consistent over the past 2 decades or more at around 74k [in round numbers]. Hardly a testament to your cries of falling skies.

          Otherwise I can agree that there have been some interesting expenditures by city leaders over the years.

          You know the one item that would relieve the pressure of revenue shortfalls? Hint: It’s the color of purple that loves to hoard it’s green.

    2. Wasting Evanston’s financial resources
      It seems to me that the City would be in a better financial position if it would stop wasting taxpayer money on ill-conceived projects. I assume the City had some role in financing the disastrous Green Bay redesign. As someone who drives daily on GBR, I can attest to the redesign’s adverse effects. Because the new configuration of lanes in so confusing (both at McCormick and at Emerson), drivers are constantly cutting in front of other drivers in order to access the lane which will take them to their destination. Near-collisions occur daily.

      In addition, rush hour traffic completely backs up between Lincoln and Emerson, which did not occur with the former design of GBR.

      Would someone please let us know, if possible, the total cost to the City for the failed GBR redesign?

      1. GBR is more efficient now than ever.
        I find the GBR redesign to be a success. Much more efficient use of lanes and traffic flow. Change is never easy but for most of us it’s an understood necessity in life. Once you get used to the new flow you’ll be speeding around Evanston just like every other driver.

        Perhaps the traffic backups have more to do with signal alterations than road design. The city/state has definitely been altering signals around the city. The lights at Ridge/Dempster & Asbury/Dempster have been changed and now traffic backs up into the intersection at Dempster & Asbury. No road redesign there.

  1. Bobkiewicz loves his drama
    Bobkiewicz is preaching this drama to conceal his incompetence. He caused the financial crisis. Fire Bobkiewicz, then fix the budget.

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