City spending up 32 percent in five years

Evanston's budget for 2012 projects spending for the coming year up nearly 32 percent from five years ago.

Meanwhile new figures from the federal government show that median household incomes have continued to decline nationwide — down nearly 10 percent since the start of the recession in 2007.

The new city budget, unveiled late Friday by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, calls for spending a total of $218 million in 2012, compared to $166 million five years ago, during fiscal year 2007-08.

The new budget showes a decrease in general fund spending, to $72 million from $80 million.

But that decrease has been achieved largely by shifting a variety of city operations into other, specialized funds that didn't exist five years ago.

Meanwhile, spending for other existing funds has increased dramatically.

  • The insurance fund has increased 400 percent — from $3.3 million to $16.7 million.
  • The water fund has increased 65 percent — from $9.7 million to $16.1 million.
  • The sewer fund has increased 30 percent — from $15.8 million to $20.4 million.
  • The debt service fund has increased 32 percent — from $9.9 million to $13.1 million.
  • The fire pension fund has increased  24 percent — from $5.7 million to $7.1 million.
  • The police pension fund has increased 29 percent — from $6.9 million to $8.9 million.

And the capital improvement fund, which wasn't separately stated in the budget five years ago, now is budgeted at $13.3 million.

One plus for local taxpayers — the Neighborhood Stabilization fund — budgeted at $7.1 million for 2012 — is part of a three-year, $18 million federal grant that isn't adding to the local tax burden.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting on the budget for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Civic Center.

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