Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty says the city needs a tax system designed for the new economy.

In his annual state of the city address at the Hilton Orrington this noon, Hagerty said, in his prepared remarks that sales tax revenue is stagnant because of the rise in online shopping, building permit revenue has declined sharply because of the slowdown in construction at Northwestern University and new tax assessments due next week may “bring significant changes” to already burdened homeowners and renters.

He noted that the city’s new rideshare tax is expected to generate nearly $700,000 this year and that the referendum voters approved last fall makes Evanston the first community in the state to have a graduated real estate transfer tax.

And he mentioned the new, higher parking meter rates that went into effect at the start of this month.

But he offered no specifics about what further changes he might recommend in the city’s tax structure.

He praised the volunteer fundraising effort that has so far produced more than $12 million in pledges for the new Robert Crown Community Center now under construction, while suggesting that the cost of the new center “may mean reallocating City assets.”

He said he wants to find a way to bring Northlight Theatre to downtown Evanston, find an adaptive, functional new use for the Harley Clarke mansion and see the CTA Purple Line modernized.

And, he said, the community should practice equity and empowerment in all its decision-making.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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