Ben Schapiro.

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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Hi Don,
      It means that — assuming assessed property values across the city remain unchanged — the average homeowner will pay 3.91% more in library taxes next year.
      If you look at the city budget
      you can see that the library tax was about 3% of the total property tax bill this year.
      So if your total property tax bill was $10,000, about $300 of that went to the library.
      A 3.91% library tax increase would raise the bill by just under $12.
      But, if all the taxing bodies involved raised their levies by a similar amount, the same homeowner would see their tax bill increase by nearly $400.
      Whether 3.91% seems high or low depends on a variety of assumptions about inflation rates, increases in residents’ pay scales and ultimately in the ability of the “average person” to pay.
      — Bill

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