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Evanston officials will hold a multisite, multimedia budget outreach session next week as they seek comments from residents about plans to slice what City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says is about $6 million from  next year’s city spending.

The main session from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, will be held in Room G300 of the Civic Center and will be televised online with viewing sites at five other locations around town.

Bobkiewicz told residents at Tuesday’s 1st Ward meeting that the city faces a basic general fund deficit of $3 million for the coming year.

“That, unfortunately, is not an unusual occurance,” he added. “We’ve dealt with that amount in the past and are working with city departments to make that up.”

But he says the city has about $3 million in additional spending reductions or fee increases to find this year. He says half of that amount is needed to cover bond payments on the new Robert Crown Community Center now under construction. The other half, he says, is needed to build up the city’s general fund reserves, because the city has spent down some of its reserves over the last few years.

The city manager says aldermen have also made it clear that they don’t want to raise property taxes.

As a result of the big property tax increase for School District 65 that voters approved at a referendum last year, the city’s share of total property tax bills has declined from roughly 20 to about 15 percent.

And aldermen appear convinced the voters have run out of willingness to absorb any additional increases.

Bobkiewicz says the city is anticipating getting some additional revenue — several hundred thousand dollars a year — from its new contracts to sell water to Niles and Morton Grove.

The viewing locations for the budget session will be at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.; the Chandler-Newberger Center, 1028 Central St.; the Hill Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.; the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., and the St. Francis Hospital Auditorium at 355 Ridge Ave.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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4 Comments

  1. Debt financing
    Yet again the city has spent too much money and, oh yes, the CROWN CENTER which, we’ve been told is financially sound needs immediate financing. WHAT A SURPRISE! Well it’s simple: Cut staff, cut expenses: ALL OF THEM, spend less. Cut police, fire. Cut!

    And, eliminate all salaries and benefits for city council and Mayor. That’s about. quarter million saved every year! And the salaries will not be RESTORED until the city budget is cut 10 % and real estate taxes are reduced.

    1. Library security require

      Speaking of salaries, why are taxpayers paying for *two* security guys at the downtown library? I usually see them together, chatting, in the lobby. Yesterday they were together, hanging out on the front steps. Are there EPL security issues we don’t know about that require a two-person team? 

      1. Yes, particularly the fact
        Yes, particularly the fact some wacko decided to draw swastikas and other junk on the Quran and other religious texts back in 2016, I think it would be justified to hire security for the library. It also deters theft of library materials, discourages problem behavior, and serves as a reference point for people to go to with questions about the library. Not defending the supposed fraternizing, but you should definitely bring it up to the library if you think it’s an issue.

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