Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the city is considering a range of options from furlough days for city workers to creating new taxes on internet service and used car sales as it tries to plan its own 2016 budget in the absence of a state budget agreement.

Bobkiewicz says those changes could save between $500,000 and $1.5 million from a total budget of more than $230 million — a range of savings the City Council recently directed him to prepare for.

The other changes would include reducing sick day payouts and cell phone stipends for city workers. Other new funds could come from increased parking fines, building permit fees, yard waste fees, ambulance fees and an increase in the cigarette tax.

In addition, with the state budget deadlock in Springfield dragging on, Bobkiewicz says he today asked city department directors to come up with additional budget reductions totalling 2 percent of spending.

Bobkiewicz says the 2 percent cuts would apply to all departments, including police and fire which generally have been spared cuts in recent years, except for the library, where an appointed board now sets the budget.

The city manager says he wants detailed proposals for the reductions from the department heads by Aug. 4.

He says budget staff continues to meet with employee bargaining units regarding furlough days for this year and that he plans to make a recommendation about a possible Sept. 4 furlough day at the July 27 City Council meeting. A decision on a Dec. 31 furlough day, he says, will be made later.

The City Council is also scheduled to discuss budget issues Aug. 17 and Aug. 31.  The proposed FY 2016 budget will be submitted to the City Council in mid-October.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. How about reducing spending?

    My taxes are absolutely through the roof – to the point where I am struggling to pay for my home. I wish our elected officials would consider the option of reducing spending rather than generating additional taxes and revenue. Does anyone read this? Reducing spending will fix your budget problem.

    1. How about offsetting Cook County tax increase ?

      If Evanston wants to keep/get business, maybe the Council can offset the new County 1 percent sales tax increase. The county board president promised to reduce and eliminate the Stroger tax but when elected increased it again—what else can we expect from politicians.

      While at it, get rid of the 6 percent Evanston liquor tax as a hold-over from the Evanston 'dry' ages. Oh, that's right liquor is the new 'in' business with the city—looking at wine bars, distilleries and bars through out the city as the new cash cow and 'winners.'

      Wilmette has no such additional liquor tax and what I see neither does Skokie. The Council seems to forget how close these are to Evanston, for residents to get packaged liquor.

  2. What about cutting staff at

    What about cutting staff at the Levy Center and the Ecology Center?  The first has people standing around leaning on brooms and others behind a locked door, invisible to users of the center.  What are they there for?  The second has a huge staff for a building that's empty except for staff many working days of each week and month.

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