Quantcast

Evanston budget debate begins

Evanston aldermen hold their first workshop session on the city budget Saturday.

Evanston aldermen hold their first workshop session on the city budget Saturday.

They’re facing a nearly $2 million deficit in the budget proposed by the city manager, despite its call for a nearly 5 percent increase in property taxes.

The session starts at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chamber at the Civic Center and we plan to provide live coverage.

On Evanston Now this week readers have been debating how aldermen should respond to the budget crunch.

Employee pay

One question on many minds has been whether city employees are better paid than those in the private sector.

We don’t have an immediate answer for that question for Evanston, but the New York Times reports that in New York the average city employee now costs taxpayers $107,000 a year in wages, health insurance, pension and other benefits.

That’s an increase of 63 percent since 2000 — a rate of increase twice as fast as that of employees in the private sector, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.

Staffing levels

The proposed new city budget would freeze city employment levels at 840 full-time-equivalent positions, but leaving 14 vacant positions unfilled.

That’s down from a total of 883 full-time-equivalent jobs in 2006-07, but it’s still higher than the 822 employees the city had a little over a decade ago, in fiscal year 1997-98. 

Editors’ Picks