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Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid says he’s opposed to a planned doubling of parking meter fines up for consideration by aldermen Monday night.

Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie says the boost from $10 to $20 for parking at an expired meter would be the first time the fine has been increased since 1976.

Based on the change in the consumer price index, $10 in 1976 is equivalent of $43 today.

The change is expected to increase ticket revenue by $390,000 a year and would make a small dent in a projected $4.3 million budget deficit this year.

But Reid, in a message on his Facebook page, called the hike “regressive” and said it would “disproportionately fall on the shoulders of Evanston’s lowest-income residents.”

In an interview, Reid didn’t suggest that lower income residents are more likely to get tickets for parking meter violations, but that the same size fine hurts them more that it would the wealthy.

He suggested a couple of alternative sources for new revenue that he contended would be less regressive.

He proposed increasing the city’s 6 percent liquor tax rate to 7 percent. Assuming sales stayed the same, the increase would raise about an additional $500,000 per year.

However Evanston’s liquor tax is already the highest in the state and three years ago was the subject of a petition drive by restaurateurs and others seeking to get it reduced.

Restaurateurs are also feeling the impact of the city’s decision not to opt out of the county’s minimum wage hike — which will increase minimum wage labor costs by 57 percent over the next three years.

Another alternative, Reid suggested, would be to increase the real estate transfer tax. He suggested that might be coupled with a “cutout” provision that would exempt from the new tax properties of less than a certain value.

Evanston voters have twice rejected increasing the transfer tax — once in November 2006 when the objective was to fund affordable housing programs, and again in February 2008 when the goal was to reduce the city’s public safety pension debt.

Aldermen Monday are also scheduled to consider two additional change to parking rules.

A proposed increase in fines for parking in street-sweeping areas would raise an estimated $75,000 a year.

And a proposed reduction in the number of unpaid tickets that qualifies a car to be booted from five to three is expected to increase revenue by $150,000 a year.

Related story

Ticket scofflaws may get the boot sooner (7/6/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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6 Comments

  1. whats more regressive?

    Nobody has to incur a parking ticket, if you do there is no one to blame but yourself. Can’t afford to pay a ticket, don’t park at a meter for longer than the limit.  So Simple!

    But raise the liquor tax to 7% could mean a couple things.  Incrementally fewer drinks being sold in Evanston and restaurants having to make adjustments to accomodate the higher imposed expense. 

    How will less revenue and higher expenses likely get handled?  Hmmm, let’s see, labor, especially unskilled labor, gets hours cut, receives lower/fewer wage increases, has generally diminished opportunity.

    Happy to see the clerk is asking questions, but his proposal could have a serious and meaningful “regressive” effect upon those few who did nothing to deserve it.  Quite unlike the parking scofflaw who created their own “regressive” situation from their own personal behavior. 

    1. Revenue
      The solution to the budget shortfall is simple: cut expenses (spending). Let’s see the “token” aldermen salary and benefits plus the Mayor’s salary and benefits would plug most of that. And don’t worry! If any of these elected officials feel that volunteering their time is a burden, we’d all understand if they resign. But even if they are paid $0, I suspect most of them will make the “sacrifice” and stay in office. I wonder why?

      1. cutting needless salaries

        Don’t forget the salaries of Efiom, Bobkiewicz, Danzak-Lyons, etc……as they say…champagne salaries with a beer budget.   Too much overpaying of people.  and, of course the aldermen salaries as you mentioned.   It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s wrong in Evanston.  Taxes going up, parking rates and fines, etc……….It’s not a very livable city for most of us…….only the “privileged” and the ones making the rules.

    2. More cuts
      Years ago the size of the Council was cut. Time to do it again. Each alderman has to propose things–knowing they will not be approve only increase costs for studies and ‘groups’ to do the studies. Why ? To make it seem like they are actually doing something for the health of residents—in fact only increasing costs so they can it votes and big budgets next year [“spend/waste it all so budget won’t be cut next year”].
      As for the liquor tax, Evanston is not an isolated city with no alternatives. Residents can drive to Wilmette or elsewhere and stock-up if occasional trips are too difficult. Remember the gas tax Evanston had in the ’70’s ? It took the Council years to realize what taxpayers knew—they could do better in surrounding towns.

  2. Clerk objects…

    How does raising parking ticket prices move Evanston toward the stated goal of making it the most livable city in America? 

  3. Clerk’s Objection Simple

    Evanston Now reported in December that Reid has a checquered past when it comes to car laws, having accummulated tickets, driving an unregistered vehicle and not having insurance.

    The idea that these fees are “regressive” is silly. They are easily avoided and there is a high propotion of homes in Evanston that do not have access to cars.  In national studies, the relationship tends to show that these households have lower income.  

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