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Faced with a projected $4.3 million general fund revenue shortfall, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz will recommend to aldermen Monday a citywide hiring freeze and trimming the projected pay raise being anticipated for new union contracts.

In a memo to aldermen, Bobkiewicz and Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons blame the revenue shortfall on declines in four revenue sources.

  • Building permit revenue is expected to be 28 percent, or $2.6 million, short of budget.
  • Revenue from the city’s share of the state income tax is expected to be down 10 percent, or $790,000.
  • Sales tax revenue is expected to drop 4.4 percent, or $780.000.
  • Utility tax revenue is expected to fall 3.8 percent, or $200,000.

Proposed steps to close the gap

The city had initially budgeted for a 1.5 percent increase in employee pay rates this year, and raised that projection to a 2.75 percent increase as union contract negotiations continued. But overall general fund spending has been running slightly under budget, so that even with the higher pay hike the total general fund spending is now forecast to be nearly $949,000 under budget. 

Now Bobkiewicz is suggesting that the Council budget for a 2.75 percent wage increase — but one that would be retroactive only to July 1, rather than Jan. 1. That change is estimated to save $752,000.

The memo proposes several changes in interfund transfers to slice $1.95 million from the gap.

And it suggests a 1.5 percent reduction in non-personnel costs, a $150,000 reduction of the city manager’s contigency fund and closing the 311 center on Saturdays to save an additional $420,000.

It calls for $205,000 in new revenue with three changes to parking regulations.

And it calls for the hiring freeze and new restrictions on overtime, travel and equipment purchases.

Planning ahead

The staff memo also proposes that the city consider establishing a two-year budget cycle as part of its planning this fall for its 2018 budget and that it conduct a review of the organizational structure of several city deparments — including the city manager’s office, administrative service and the law and police departments.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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12 Comments

  1. How about cancelling some of

    How about cancelling some of the unnecessary and poorly conceived public works projects that out City Council seems to be so fond of?  

    The leadship of this town could stand to pay a little less attention to projects that only seem to stoke their own vanity….

    1. I agree

      Yes…the people higher up on the boards and committees, council, and top-management, should not be self-serving..which has always been a problem.  They are also short-sighted.     The same old problems keep coming up year after year.   Not enough people are making noise, until it’s too late.

      1. Seriously?

        Wow!  Planning ahead is one of this genius’s strategies?  Where has he been this past decade?  Is part of his role and accountabilities to plan ahead?

  2. Furlough days

    How about a few furlough days for city workers? There’s still plenty of time this year to give folks some unpaid days off.

    1. Furlough

      It’s been done before..nothing wrong with that at all.  How ’bout a furlough of the City Manager…for about 6 months!

    2. How about more revenue?

      How about getting more revenue …perhaps that decrepit mansion on the lake could be turned over to a developer who could turn it into a revenue-generating inn and restaurant.

      1. Community Development bleeding red

        The Community Development Department is a shining example of government waste at both the local and federal levels. A major miscalculation of permit fee revenue is hitting the budget hard and as usual the CD Director has bailed out of Evanston. His replacement is an inexperienced former economic development manager hand picked by Wally because qualified candidates stopped showing interest years ago; additionally the new directors godmother is a city council member. Wally played the political hand because his quick exit was foiled and he suffered major embarrassment. The CDBG and oother appropriate committees should take a good hard look at completed and/ or current projects overseen by H.O.M.E. and Housing Rehab. The word on the street is nothing of value is being produced by well paid staff.

        1. What kind of irresponsible

          What kind of irresponsible person submits something like this.  Making a bizarre statement about Johanna Nyden Leonard’s godparents underscores the inaccuracy of this entire post.  I am Johanna Nyden Leonard’s father.  It is news to me that she has a godparent on city council. What kind of gutless person makes such false accusations and submits them as anonymous?  You need to come  out from under your rock  and let readers see you for what you are. 

        2. well-paid staff is correct

          Bobkiewicz, Lyons, Richardson, Efiiom, Parker, Storlie, Danczak-Lyons, etc., etc., etc…over a million dollars in salaries!  Evanston is being run (if you could call it that) by a tag-team of overblown/overpaid employees…and the rest of us get the shaft!   Who started this…why did it happen, and if it doesn’t stop, things will continue to go down the ole’ toilet!  Do the citizens all have blinders on?   

          1. Re: Well paid staff

            Forgot the Health Dept…The Director and Asst.  Director cost the taxpayers in excess of $250k in salaries. Unjustifiable and the CM knows it but is afraid to do anything.

          2. oops

            My bad….forgot about those two positions.  I’m sure there are more.   Probably enough salaries to cover the deficit….. CM is afraid, because HE is blowing it big time!  No wonder he wanted to move away….duh!  

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