Evanston’s proposed city budget for 2016, released by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz late this afternoon, calls for a 5.6 increase in spending over this year.
Total spending, net of interfund transfers, is projected at $243 million, compared to $230 million this year.
The biggest spending increases include nearly $9 million more for the water fund and $2 million more for the sewer fund, $3.5 million more for capital improvements, $2.3 million more for debt service, $2 million more for the general fund, $1.7 million more for the Washington National TIF and $1.3 million more for the parking fund. Some of those increases are covered by designated non-tax revenue streams.
As reported by Evanston Now this morning, the budget includes a 2 percent increase in the city’s property tax levy to cover recommended additional spending on Police and Fire pensions. There are no other proposed tax or fee increases.
The budget, which is available online, includes the proposed layoff of 1.5 staff positions — one full-time position in the Community Development Department and a half-time position at the Evanston Animal Shelter.
Also included in the budget is a City Council option to add up to 1.9 full-time equivalent staff positions — one-and-a-half at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center and a 40 percent-of-full-time special events coordinator job. Additionally, there is a proposal to shift some staff positions to better align with City Council goals.
“The prevailing economic climate has shown signs of improvement during the past year,” Bobkiewicz said in a statement, but uncertainty about the state budget remains a concern. The state has been without an annual budget since July 1. “State legislators have passed monthly budgets, but have failed to address comprehensive statewide budget issues which may impact local revenue sources,” the city manager added.
To deal with possible state funding cutbacks, the proposed city budget identifies $1.5 million in potential reductions and revenue adjustments.
The City Council will begin debate on the proposed budget at its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. A public hearing on it is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24.