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City staffing level higher in Evanston

Evanston has more municipal employees per capita in comparable jobs than two nearby communities of similar size.

Evanston has more municipal employees per capita in comparable jobs than two nearby communities of similar size.

An Evanston Now analysis of municipal budget data shows that Evanston has 8.58 employees in those roles for every 1,000 residents, compared to 7.53 in Skokie and 6.30 in Arlington Heights

City staffing levels have been one issue in the ongoing series of budget workshops as officials try to decide how to close an $8 million gap in the $90 million general fund budget for next year. The next public budget workshop will be held Tuesday evening at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center.

Our analysis excludes parks and library employees in Evanston because those functions are performed by separate taxing districts independent of the municipality in the two other towns.

It includes all other municipal departments in the three communities.

Public Safety

Spending on public safety shows the smallest per capita difference among the three towns, with Evanston spending about 9 percent more than the average of what Skokie and Arlington Heights spend on fire and police services.

But how the funds are allocated is dramatically different. Evanston has 28 percent more police officers per capita and 16 percent fewer firefighters per capita than the average of other two communities.

Development and Health

Evanston spends about 27 percent more per capita than the average of the other two towns on its Community Development and Health and Human Services departments.

There’s not much difference within this group. Evanston spends 30 percent more on Community Development and 22 percent more on Health.

Public Works

Evanston spends 45 percent more per capita on Public Works than the average of the other two communities. That’s after making some small adjustments to the Evanston numbers to account for the much broader service area of Evanston’s water plant, but adding back into Public Works facilities management and parkway tree maintenance work that’s done by the parks department here but by public works in the other towns.

General and administrative

This category includes several city departments that supervise or service other departments — the city manager’s office, finance, human resources, law, the clerk’s office, and the insurance and fleet service funds.

Evanston spends 55 percent more per capita than the average of the other two communities on these functions. Arguably some of that disparity is accounted for by the inclusion of the library and parks under Evanston’s municipal government — upping the overall employee count and requiring heavier staffing of the general functions than in the other two towns.

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