Evanston aldermen Monday rejected a proposed rental apartment license fee and a proposed 1 percent tax on restaurant meals.
They then postponed until a special meeting Wednesday decisions on whether to cut spending or further increase the property tax to fill the $1.2 million hole those decisions left in the city budget.
Under state law the council must adopt a balanced budget by Friday.
About 150 people packed the council chamber for the apartment licensing discussion and several dozen landlord from across the city spoke against it.
They said the plan would not be effective in solving problems created by a small number of problem tenants and landlords and would instead burden good landlords with administrative hassles and expense and raise costs for good tenants.
No tenants offered views on the ordinance and two condo owners who live near apartment buildings with problem tenants supported the measure.
Several aldermen said they believed the plan was flawed but that they might support a revised version later.
The measure was rejected on a 5-4 vote with aldermen Holmes, Rainey, Tisdahl and Wollin, casting the votes for it.
Earlier this month the aldermen caught restaurant owners by surprise when they unanimously approved approved a 1 percent increase in the tax on restaurant meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
But after efforts by the owners to change minds on the council, the aldermen voted 6-3 Monday to drop the new tax. Only aldermen Hansen, Rainey and Wollin voted for it Monday.
The owners say the tax would make it extremely difficult for their businesses to compete with hotels and restaurants in other communities for banquet and private party business — situations where the tax difference could mean several hundred dollars added to the bill.
If no further changes are made, the council will have to increase the property tax levy by 9.29 percent to balance the budget.
The aldermen did approve the following tax and fee hikes:
- Increasing charges for taxicab licenses to raise $55,000. The measure also authorizes an increase in rates taxi drivers charge their passengers.
- Increasing in parking meter rates downtown from 50-cents to 75-cents per hour.
- Increasing the fee for a city vehicle stickers by $15 to raise $495,000.
- Increasing business license fees and creating a new $25 fee for home-based businesses, measures designed to raise $85,500.
- Creating a new $2.50 per month fee for households having a second garbage cart to raise $100,000.
- Adding $5 to the fee for residential parking stickers to raise $35,000.
- Increasing city motor fuel tax from 2-cents to 3-cents per gallon to raise $137,000.
The Evanston tax burden is
The Evanston tax burden is already significantly higher than the nearby suburbs. It’s time for the City Council to rein in the budget to make Evanston competitive.
Another horrible idea
Another horrible idea by the city manager that never should have been discussed in the first place. There was no justification for this at all.
This idea does not do any good for the landlords (adminstrative headache and added unncesssary fees), tenants (increasing in rents and they will be disturbed with more inspection), and to neighbors who has ‘issues’ with problem rental building by their homes because this inspection does not inspect bad tenants.
City inspector cites and ask the owners to fix peeling paints and replace batteries for smoke detectors. $40 inspection fees helps these inspectors to inspect for peeling paints and test smoke detectors and might potentially ease some impact of pension crisis since this $40 would be paying for adminstrative fees for inspection.
Meanwhile the end result would have been landlords selling their properties (because of rising taxes and passing fees) which causes real estate markets in Evanston to suffer, tenants get increase in rents without really any added value of them being tenants, and neighbors will still be forced to live next to problem tenants who now have batteries in all of their smoke detectors and all the walls free from peeling paints.
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