City spending to rise 9.9 percent

With just a week left before scheduled final adoption of Evanston’s 2008-09 budget, aldermen have managed to cut less than $600,000 from a proposed $17 million spending increase.

The city manager’s proposed budget would have increased total spending by 10.3 percent to $183 million. With the cuts so far, the increase would be 9.9 percent.

The biggest budget increase, just over $8 million, goes to public safety pensions.

But even after the aldermen’s cuts, the general fund budget is scheduled to rise by nearly $3.5 million.

And there are increases of $2 million in the sherman Avenue Garage Fund, $1.6 million in the sewer fund and nearly $1 million in the fleet services fund.

Appropriations to other funds increase or decrease by mostly smaller amounts.

The aldermen have managed to reduce the projected property tax levy increase from just over 15 percent to a shade under 10 percent — but most of that reduction has been accomplished by adding other new taxes and fees.

Despite much concern about possible elimination of city jobs, the aldermen so far have cut only two positions, beyond reductions initially proposed in the city manager’s budget. And both of those jobs are currently vacant.

The aldermen have scheduled another budget meeting for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23; and they’re scheduled to adopt the final budget on Monday, Feb. 25.

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