Evanston officials are asking residents to take a survey and submit comments on budget priorities between now and Sept. 22.

The city faces a budget deficit of about $2.1 million for Fiscal Year 2012 and a projected deficit of $3.9 million for Fiscal Year 2013 and the city manager is scheduled to submit a proposed 2012 budget to the City Council early next month.

The budget survey is available online or you can pick-up a paper copy at one of the libraries, community centers or at the police station starting Sept. 6.

Comments can also be submitted by email at info@cityofevanston.org or by calling 311.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. My view of the Evanston fire service

    In FY10-11, the Evanston Fire Department cost over $174,000 in salary and benefits per full-time equivalent employee including the annual pension costs.

    Nine out of ten members of the Evanston Fire department live outside of Evanston.

  2. Budget Survey

    Tried completing it last night and it's really one of those "Do you walk to school or take your lunch?" surveys. Wound up with a lot of neutrals, not because I didn't have an opinion but because there was no answer that matched it. Neutral was a judgment of the question and potential responses.

    Thanks for providing a forum to express that.

  3. Lets cut politics from budget decisions! ( Fire Fighters )

    The fact that 9 out of 10 fire men don't live here has no bearing on how the department is running.

    The issue is can the department be run at a lower cost! Two options close a fire stations or use contract fire fighters to staff some positions are cost cutting.  Closing a station cuts service, using a blend of full time employees to contractors would lower cost.  It would cut the number down from $174,000.

    The city had the chance recently to hire some contractors but Wally  appear to want to hire full time employees. thus no fire fighters would be laid off to hire contractors   What has Wally done to lower fire department costs no much, last budget hearing he said they could cut their uniform costs, this hearing he is claiming 3% cuts, of course they will just over run their overtime again this year and Wally will do nothing.  

    Wally claimed 3 departments he would not cut police, Fire and Water.  How much politics is driving Wally decision is interesting, maybe he is hoping they will take lower raises?

    Wally can not take the full blame since the council and Mayor provide no leadership. Recently one council member suggest to me volunteers are the way to go, versus employees, clearly this approach is nonsense.

    The employees are saying no privatization, hiring contractors is not privatization of services, but a balanced approach to lower costs. Wally mess up again when he created 311 – how many contractors did he hire to fill the positions there?  zero?  How critical to the public safety are people answering the phone. 75% of those position should have been contract, in the case of the fire department at least 10% should be contract.

    The crossing guard discussion is interesting these part time employees are like contractors already, but Wally think there is huge cost saving here to contract the service out.

    Recently staff presented an analysis of the crossing guards – how does outsourcing an $8.50 hour part time employee with no benefits save us any money? The issue is the city claims it is spending so much money on the program since they use the parking enforcement staff to cover for sick crossing guards, The claim of cost savings comes from the fact the enforcement staff is not writing parking tickets, not a real cost savings but a avoidance.

    There are no cost saving staff needs to come up with a better way to manage the crossing guard  program, rather than to keep on playing politics that the school districts need to run it or pay for the cost. or lets use volunteers!

    Things are going to get a lot more interesting here, if the council, members, Mayor and Wally continue to play politics with the budget,

  4. Doing the dirty work

    I find it both fascinating and troubling that Evanston taxpayers pay more then a million dollars a year in salaries and benefits for city staff to manage Evanston's finances, yet they want us to come up with solutions for them. In other words, they want us to do their dirty work.

    Any responsible financial manager would understand that the only solution to Evanston's fiscals woes is to declare bankruptcy. Even if Evanston were to close the Noyes Cultural Art Center, the Chandler Center, develop the lake front, and soak the rich, that still want solve our problems. It would just prolong the inevitable.

    The only reason the city won't declare bankruptcy is that would result in investigations that may result in discovering corruption. It would also result in an uproar from the rank and file union members who would find out they were lied to by the people they supported to run Evanston.

    The Progressive Liberal Utopia that was planned for Evanston with the downtown developments has failed and the current administration isn't willing to admit it.

    Evanston is so financially over a cliff that it isn't a matter of if we will have to declare bankruptcy, it's just a matter of when.

    1. Progressive liberal?

      "The Progressive Liberal Utopia that was planned for Evanston with the downtown developments has failed and the current administration isn't willing to admit it."

      This is dumb.    What is progressive or liberal about downtown development?  Most real estate developers are right-wingers, as are the capitalist banks that loaned the money.

      Do you just use the words "progressive" and "liberal" to describe everything that you don't like?  Have you been watching Glenn Beck?

      Please tell us, are you opposed to development?  Why? 


  5. Your view

    "Nine out of ten members of the Evanston Fire department live outside of Evanston."

    Do you blame them??? 

    The city's finances are a mess – The schools are a mess – Taxes are outrageous ….

    No wonder they don't live here!

  6. we don’t already have . . .

    comprehensive list of all TIF properties/projects?  or "determine what resources would be required. . . "

    There were lots on here where the task was to "develop a comprehensive list" of things that we should already have.  And "determine if alcohol" can be sold — aren't they the city council?  What do we mean "determine whether"?  


    I find this a little confusing.


  7. Wally’s Window Dressing

    This is the type of meaningless, touchy-feely exercise that Wally uses to hide the sad reality.  Wally Bobkiewicz is grossly incompetent.  City employees at the Civic Center openly discuss it.

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