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City nears adoption of $321 million spending plan

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Hitesh Desai.

Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to accept for introduction a proposed budget for next year that calls for spending nearly $321 million, before excluding interfund transfers.

Hitesh Desai, the city’s chief financial officer, in a memo to aldermen, summarized changes made to the projections based on aldermanic discussions since the proposed budget was issued Oct. 4 as follows:

  • Drop a proposed 5 percent self storage fee that had been anticipated to raise $50,000.
  • Reduce parking meter revenue by $260,000 and parking ticket revenue by $15,000 as a result of restoring free parking on Sundays.
  • Continue to hold four positions vacant in the Police Department, rather than restoring one of those positions as had originally been proposed.
  • Add $200,000 in projected athletic and amusement tax revenue based on the approval of holding professional events at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
  • Reduce expenses in the Human Services Division by holding vacant one of 2.5 new positions that had been proposed for that unit.
  • Shift a projected $250,000 in recreational cannabis tax revenue to a newly created Reparations Fund.

Looking further ahead, Desai says the staff projections for the 2021 budget show expenses of under $304 million, a drop of $17 million from this year, primarily because of the completion of the new Robert Crown Center and some projects at the water tretment plant, but general fund expenses are expected to increase about $2 million because of wage increases already agreed to in union contracts.

The aldermen Monday are also scheduled to accept for introduction ordinances imposing several tax levies to fund the 2020 budget.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

Final adoption of the budget is scheduled for the City Council’s Nov. 25 meeting.

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