Trustees of the Evanston Public Library voted unanimously Wednesday evening to direct library staff to build a 2023 budget assuming a 3.9% increase in the library tax levy.
The vote, on a motion by board Treasurer Ben Schapiro, followed a public hearing on a staff budget proposal at which no residents spoke for or against the plan that calls for a 7% increase in spending to a total of $10.5 million.
Interim Library Director Heather Norborg said the 3.9% tax hike would cover “known expense increases” other than anticipated staff pay hikes.
The size of pay increases remains uncertain because results of a city compensation study are still being analyzed by staff and new union contracts are still being negotiated.
The budget proposes no reduction in library services and contains projections showing that even with 4% annual tax levy increases over the next several years the library’s reserves would fall from 4.3 months worth of spending in 2023 to just 2.5 month’s worth by 2026.
The board also discussed adopting a reserves policy calling for keeping a fund balance of between four and six months of budgeted spending.
The board is scheduled to hold a “truth in taxation” public hearing on its budget on Oct. 19 and adopt its new tax levy on Nov. 16.