Evanston’s Human Services Committee tonight will be asked to approve a township general assistance budget that calls for an 18 percent spending increase over last year’s actual spending.

The proposed spending boost comes even though Evanston voters in March approved by a 2-1 margin a referendum urging the town board to dissolve the township and have the City of Evanston take over its responsibilities.

The budget, prepared by Township Supervisor Pat Vance, includes a projected 36 percent increase in payments to general assistance clients, even though last year’s actual spending for that purpose fell 27 percent below what Vance had budgeted for that year.

Although the township has more than a full year’s worth of expenditures in its fund balance, Vance has resisted pressure from town board members to substantially reduce the reserves.

Vance says in her budget message that the township should keep at least a half year of anticipated expenditures in the fund balance reserve, but the actual general assistance fund reserve now stands at 14 months — or $1.5 million against projected annual spending of less than $1.3 million.

Although Vance calls for reducing the township’s general assistance fund property tax levy by 10 percent over last year’s budgeted amount, that would only be enough to reduce the budget reserve by about one month’s worth of spending.

The large projected spending increases in the face of steady or falling demand may be a way to appear to be substantially reducing the fund balance while actually trimming it only modestly at most.

The general assistance budget shows essentially no increase in payroll costs for general assistance staff, but it anticipates increases of 17 percent in payments for general assistance client medical expenses and 55 percent in emergency assistance grants over the actual expenditures on those line items during the past year.

The separate town fund budget shows a 6 percent increase over last year’s budget and a 10 percent increase over actual expenditures.

Costs for the township assessor’s office would rise 9 percent under the proposal, while expenses for the supervisor’s office would drop nearly 16 percent.

The budget also calls for a 44 percent increase in grants to non-profits that provide community service programs.

That budget shows a 15 percent reduction in the proposed tax levy, and increased withdrawals from reserves.

Related document

The proposed township budget (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Township budget

    With the pending loss of Illinois Cares Rx and cuts in nearly every other health and human service program, we may well need to rely on the township to assist those facing greater poverty.

    1. Yes, help those in need

      The issue is about providing the necessary services in a cost effective manner. If the City of Evanston can provide the same services as the Township, yet save $300,000 – $500,000 per year why are we wasting so much money?

      As you rightly point out, there may be a need for more services if the Illinois Cares Rx and other health and human services programs get cut. But where is the money going to come from ??? Money doesn't grow on trees. The ATM machine just doesn't spit out cash.

      Many people agree that the General Assistance services should be provided and taxpayers, especially in Evanston want them to be provided. I want them to be provided.

      But I don't want to waste money – that's the issue.

      Eliminate the Township – NOW

  2. No budget increase – dissolve the Evanston Township!

    The City Council needs to vote "no" on the Township proposed budget increase.

    Voters sent a clear message that the Evanston Township should dissolve.

    If any alderman votes yes on ANY budget increase for the Township it is a clear slap in the face of Evanston voters.

    We will be watching and we demand the city move forward to dissolve the wasteful and duplicative Evanston Township.

    LOWER our taxes!

  3. Eliminate the Township – NOW !!

    Just click on the proposed budget of $ 1.12 million and weep.

    Our community should continue to provide the necessary General Assistance to those people in need, but let's do it in a cost effective manner.

    Look at the duplicative overhead costs of the township – Rent expense, Salaries, Administration, etc and think about the more productive uses that money could be spent.

    The City of Evanston says they can deliver the same services and save $300,000 to $500,000 PER YEAR.

    Yes, that's each and every year. We don't have spare cash like that to waste.

    Eliminate the Township – NOW !!


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