Local government debt burden increases in Evanston

The City of Evanston and the community's two school districts have racked up debt totalling nearly $12,000 for every person in town.

That's one conclusion of a new report this week from the county treasurer's office.

The report shows that the debt burden increased by 2.65 percent between 2010 and 2011.

By far the largest portion of the debt — $886.7 million — is held by the City of Evanston, but the city showed the smallest debt increase, 1.7 percent, between the two years.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65's debt totalled $84.5 million and increased by 5.6 percent.

Evanston Township High School District 202's debt totalled $82.5 million and increased by 8.1 percent.

More than half the city's debt, $388 million, is a result of pension liabilities. But the city managed to trim the unfunded portion of that debt by more than 1 percent last year.

Much of the rest of the debt has dedicated revenue streams — for example from water and sewer payments and parking fees — to help pay it off.

The report also shows that the city raised its property tax levy by 42.7 percent over the past decade. District 65's levy rose by 41.4 percent and District 202's increased by 37.9 percent.

And it shows that the average worker for District 65 and the city got a 5 percent pay increase last year, while the average District 202 employee received a 4 percent increase.

You can check the debt numbers for all local taxing districts affecting your property tax bill here.

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Cook taxpayers on the hook for $140 billion in debt. (Chicago Business)

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