Given the reluctance of residents and aldermen to trim city spending, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says some tax increases and fee hikes are very likely in next year’s Evanston city budget.

Bobkiewicz, in an interview with Evanston Now, said the only tax that he’s confident won’t be rising is the city’s share of the property tax.

Evanston homeowners have been hammered with large increases in that tax recently as a result of the voter-approved School District 65 referendum and county tax reassessments, so, he says, aldermen don’t want to boost the property tax next year.

The city’s total spending, net of interfund transfers, has grown from $187.6 million in 2008 to $272.3 million this year. That works out to an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent during a period when the consumer price index has grown at 1.8 percent.

But despite those increases, residents responding to a just-completed survey on the city website had a lot easier time identifying programs they’d like to preserve from cuts, rather than ones they think should be trimmed, the city manager said.

Results of that survey of nearly four dozen programs that a city staff evaluation concluded were in the bottom third of all city programs are scheduled to be reported at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The Council is also scheduled Monday to get a first look at plans for a review of Fire Department operations with an eye to achieving some savings.

A similar review of Police Department operations was launched earlier this month.

Bobkiewicz has said he believes the city will face at least a $3 million budget shortfall that will need to be closed to balance next year’s budget.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. No spending cuts. more tax

    No spending cuts. more tax hikes.

    We have the highest total tax burden in the entire US in Illinois, combined with the worst credit rating and fiscal situation in the entire US.  No amount of taxes could ever fill the pension hole, but the only solution is taxes.  

    But everyone in this town will go to the polls and put in the same exact politicians year after year, decade after decade. 

    Its a total shame. Nice town that will eventually implode.

  2. Here we go again

    Nothing ever changes….how many more people will this administration drive/push out of Evanston?

  3. suggestion

    If WGN TV ever wants to ressurect the Bozo the Clown show2, I have a recommendation for the lead part!

  4. Was something different expected ?

    Of course this was expected. The city proposed items they thought one group or another would oppose. The city could then blame the resident and give everyone what they wanted.

    The city again passed the buck instead of making any [tough?] decisions. Now, despite what they say, they willl continue spending whatever THEIR voters ask for, and raise taxes and fees.  Thus leaving more people to decide Evanston is not for them.

  5. Thank you Bill
    Thank you Bill for interviewing the City Manager and getting him on record. Mike

  6. Just wait….

    Did everyone miss where they are talking about police OFFICER layoffs? And they are going to “evaluate” the fire department at Monday’s council meeting? 

    1. What layoffs?
      If you’re talking about the audit they just did they were reviewing administrative positions in the dept to see how they can change them. I didn’t see a word about laying off officers.

      1. Look at the money


        Not in so many words yet, but if you look at the total dollars that need to be found, layoffs or not filling unfilled positions are possibly the answer. There are rumors…..

      2. Fire Bobkiewicz

        That’s so re-assuring. Bobkiewicz wrecked most government operations at the civic center.  And have you seen the individuals he has promoted? Yet he plans to ruin the police and fire department.  Fire Bobkiewicz.

        1. a lot or us agree

          Those of us who work with him can see right through him. … and agree with your current and past comments.  The aldermen need to smarten up and speak for the people, and the well-being of the city.   DO NOT renew his contrsact.  Simple as that.   He has his own agenda, and it does not include the best interests of most.  His dislikes of certain employees are always made public, and he is an embarrassment with his blatant actions.    

      1. Vote them out

        They got in and showed they cannot manage the budget, let’s vote them out. 

        And here’s another solution: stop spending in affordable housing while making it unaffordable for everyone else!!!!

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