Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl told residents at a town hall meeting Thursday night “property taxes probably will increase” next year.

The mayor, noting that there’s been no increase in the city’s tax rate for the past two years, said, “We’ve cut about as much as I think we can cut” from the city budget, and “eventually we have to raise taxes.”

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl told residents at a town hall meeting Thursday night “property taxes probably will increase” next year.

The mayor, noting that there’s been no increase in the city’s tax rate for the past two years, said, “We’ve cut about as much as I think we can cut” from the city budget, and “eventually we have to raise taxes.”

The mayor, speaking at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, said she’s looking for ways to increase city revenue — like selling Evanston water to more communities. And she said projects like the proposed wind farm in Lake Michigan could create jobs for Evanston residents that would help improve the tax base.

But those ideas won’t be realized in time to have an impact on next year’s budget.

She said the trip by city officials and residents and leaders of Northwestern University to Springfield last week was designed to try to get more financial help from the state.

Among other things, she said, she talked about the need for a state-funded health clinic here.

But the state, she noted, has severe financial problems of its own.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Raising taxes
    Gee, when I am low on revenue I just raise my income.


    No need to cut spending. Brilliant!

    And this is a state that has the highest units of local government per capita.

    California here we come!

    1. highest units of local government per capita
      Vito (not verified) says:
      “And this is a state that has the highest units of local government per capita.
      California here we come!

      What is meant by “highest units of local government per capita”?

      According to a recent article in the Economist , Illinois ranks LOWEST in state employees per capita.

      So what is meant by “local government”? Does that mean county and municipal, not state? ( Then why do you say “a state” that has the highest units? ).

      Furthermore, if your definition of ‘local government’ is county and municipal and not state, could it be that our low per-capita number of state employees is just replaced by a higher per-capita number of local employees?

      I notice that the small states (Delaware, North Dakota, the Hockey Mom’s state) have a high per-capita number of state employees. This could be economy of scale, or it could be that in those states many functions that are handled at the local level here are handled by the state instead.

  2. No increase in 2 years?
    The tax rate may have stayed constant, but lots of fees increased while services decreased. It’s pretty disingenuous to act like the city had held the line on digging into our pockets the last 2 years. There is no reason that the city tax rate needs to increase, that’s just political nonsense. Hold city budgets in check and stop wasting money.

  3. Sure, a health clinic and wind farm would solve our budget woes
    What a surprise! Mayor Tisdahl says our taxes will rise again because there’s no where else to cut in the budget.

    Gosh, I can think of a lot of things that can be cut, starting with labor – the city budget’s biggest expense. Let’s start with the annual merit pay increases city union employees continue to enjoy.

    Or, what about overtime pay for Evanston firefighters?

    Say, there’s two Evanston fire stations on Central Street, just a little more than one mile apart. Why not close down one of the stations – something that had been addressed earlier. Think of all the money the city would save.

    But no, Mayor Tisdahl and all the alderman on the Council who are Democrats that have received campaign support from the unions refuse to make significant cuts in government union benefits. Why, the PRESIDENT of the Evanston city union employees was appointed by Tisdahl to sit on a budget task force, designed to provide budget recomendations to the Council.

    Meanwhile Tisdahl had the ear of state lawmakers and all she could ask for was a health clinic? Someone please inform Tisdahl that the elephant in the room is union pensions, which is bankrupting Evanston and the state.

    Tisdahl should have asked legislators to pass a law that would allow cities such as Evanston to reform its current union pension benefits that is fiscally unsustainable. Just take for example Evanston Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky who just retired at age 51. He will recieve $97,000 per year in cash, which will increase 3 percent per year. Guess who pays the chief’s salary?

    Let’s not forget about all the double dipping going on with union pensioners.

    The arrogance of Democrats is boundless. Democrat CANDIDATE Robyn Gabel who was just appointed to sit on the 18th District seat she is running for has just publicly declared she will support a 33 percent income tax increase on businesses and individuals. Gabel is saying this having not been elected yet and that she is so far running unopposed, unless Libertarian Steve Funk can get enough signatures on his petition to challenge Gabel.

    Is there a Democrat anywhere in Illinlois that actually wants to NOT raise taxes, cut spending and cut current union pension benefits or any one of the three?

    Does anyone notice that the state 11.7 unemployment rate comes mostly from the private sector. It’s time the public sector put some skin in the game.

    A health clinic and the fantasy of a wind farm are so far out in left field in terms of solving our current fiscal crisis that it’s accurate to say, Tisdahl isn’t fighting budget woes she’s fighting windmills.

  4. Micro view of the Macro issue
    Tax hike? Yup. It is happening here in Evanston because WE HAVE NO MONEY.

    And, it will happen nationally because of our huge deficit and again WE HAVE NO MONEY. How will we pay for Health Care? VAT… whatever, etc.

    Greece. Anyone take notice?

  5. Tell that woman no. The value
    Tell that woman no. The value of my property is down 50% the past 3 years. There is nothing left to give? Anyone want a two-flat–free–just pay the taxes.

  6. “We’ve cut about as much as I
    “We’ve cut about as much as I think we can cut” from the city budget, and “eventually we have to raise taxes.”

    Okay – what if you could NOT raise taxes?

    Have you tried cutting salaries and entitlements? Laying people off?

    Is “making do with less” a familiar concept?

    1. Yes, they have
      The City has laid off quite a number of employees, and has cut employee benefits. Read over the budget on the City’s website.

      At this point, the question is not “what can the City do without,” it’s “what can WE do without.” YOU are the City: I am the City – all of us who make use of City services are the City. It isn’t as separate as you are implying.

      At this point, WE are doing the spending. Are you willing to consistently clean and mow our parks yourself? Administrate safe volunteer-based programs for our kids? Dispose of your own trash and yard waste by driving it to Waste Management? Learn auto mechanics and volunteer to maintain our vehicles? One could keep going, but the truth of the matter is that people want the stuff the City provides, and that costs money.

      Keep in mind, also, that there’s a point of diminishing returns for each City employee – there is a risk that reducing benefits and salaries might mean we are unable to find or keep qualified staff. It’s a difficult balancing act.

      That is not to say that taxes can’t be lower – but to lower taxes, citizens who want reductions have to figure out what services we can live without. I understand that you and everyone else are exasperated with taxes, but you also need to understand that when you say “making do with less,” ultimately, the person who gets less is you.

  7. Democrats take from Peter and Paul to pay the unions
    I think what Vito might have meant is the fact that Illinois has more than 7,000 government entities, the most in the nation.

    For example, the Evanston Township Assessors Office is a government entity that one might easily argue is a wasteful and duplicative service.

    Illinois has an $83 billion pension tsunami coming its way. Those who blame politicians for not funding the pension programs forget that the benefits simply are unsustainable and the state NEVER could afford it.

    Government union pensioners can retire at age 55, they receive a full pension of 75 to 80 percent of their career-ending wages and they get automatic annual pension raises for life. It takes about 5 years for the retired government union employee to collect the same amount of annual income of their last year of employment.

    Compound that with the fact the state pays 100 percent of the premium for Cadillac-style retiree health care. Let’s not forget about all the double dipping that goes on.

    Does anyone in the private sector get from the government anything close to what government union employees receive?

    These government union pension benefits have always been unustainable – the state never could afford this.

    And that’s why our mayor supports a tax hike, and the Democrats such as the unelected Gabel and the accidental governor Quinn support a 33 percent increase in income taxes. Democrats in the state receive more than 80 percent of all government union campaign donations and the vast majority of their votes. In Evanston, Democrats get 100 percent of government union support.

    That’s why taxpayers are forking more every year in property taxes as their property values continue to decline. That’s why in Cook County we pay a whopping 10 percent in sales taxes.

    Why? Because the average taxpayer doesn’t vote or donate en bloc. They are not the primary constituents of the Democrat party. The Democrats need the tax revenues to feed the union beast.

    We are as John Kass of the Tribune suggests – chumbalones.

  8. Benefits
    I never heard a single story regarding cuts to City employees’ benefits. Start with health care. Instead of granting free family coverage to each employee, the City should only pay for health care coverage of the employee themselves. If the employee wants to cover their spouse or family, it should come out of their pocket.

    This alone would save probably $10K per employee per year.

    1. Illinois is on the “Highway to Greece” (recall that ACDC song?)
      Tax increases in Evanston? Surprised? Of course not.
      But are you surprised to know that your tax dollars will soon be spent to support the retirement of our current Fire Chief in a couple of weeks? Yes, at age 51, Alan Berkowsky will be retiring on May 28th and will be receiving almost $100,000 per year of your tax dollars along with excellent health care, dental, vision and other benefits. With the 3% annual cost of living increase Evanstonians will be paying him almost $200,000 per year when he’s 75. So of course tax rates have to go up. How else can we afford to pay this kind of retirement package? How many people do you know are able to retire at age 51? These entitlement arrangements just don’t make sense given current demographics and economics. With limited resources, we need to make choices. Reality dictates you “can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Hopefully people will wake up to this harsh reality, because the Illini Bus is heading for Greece…and the people on the bus are your kids, and grandchildren…many not even born yet…and this is what they have to thank us for…
      Think about this for a couple of minutes.

      1. Time to get real with the budget

          The Daily NU has a story that the Council is re-considering whether the proposed budget is realistic.

          The cities problems will not be solved as long as the Council wants to take on every hair-brain item that comes along and can’t make even the most obvious cuts [e.g. branch libraries].  They won’t make the tough decisions as is clear.   As Tom Friedman quoted "the tooth fairy is dead"—the Council and Ivy League residents still won’t accept that.

           They can’t increase taxes or they will lose more businesses and residents and people will shop in other locations—even Chicago where taxes are higher—to get better prices.

            They need to find ways [not tax abatement or other give aways but not harassing] to entice new business to come to Evanston—esp. the downtown area that is more accessible to more people than fringes of the city.   With apologizes to the other fast foods, a McDonalds would draw a lot of breakfast [and I understand children] traffic;  help CVS find a way to expand their store size until it is at least the size Osco was [sorry BofA or stores north of CVS] or get Walgreens back [remember how many drug stores use to be downtown]; get more clothing and shoe stores—at the budget level of most residents; get an appliance dealer downtown [Wiebolts and Marshall Fields were able to do so; etc..

           The city blew it with McDonalds, Osco, Famous Footware, Fields, K-Mart, stalling on Sears and many other stores—yes many chains went out of business but long after leaviing Evanston.


  9. There’s still plenty more services to cut and privatize

    Evanston city union employees still get their annual merit pay raise.

    Not one Evanston firefighter lost their job, and they not only get their annual merit pay increase but overtime pay as well.

    With a state unemployment rate of 11.7 percent, I doubt that reducing benefits and salaries of city union employees would risk losing or finding qualified staff. It’s an employer’s market – a lot of qualified highly professional people are looking for jobs.

    The city has danced around the idea of privatizing garbage and recycling service but a few city officials actually stated their fear of city union employee layoffs.

    Privatizing more services such as garbage, recycling, inspection, etc. would reduce costly city staff and the attached benefits but still give us the same amount of service, and probably more qualified service.

    Not to beat a dead horse to death but in Evanston every single Alderman and the mayor are Democrats who have received campaign support from public unions who in turn benefit from favorable treatment.

    There are countless examples of this. One that comes to mind is City Manager Wally B. who wanted to cut overtime pay from Evanston union firefighters. But somehow, somewhere that was taken off the table.

    Annual merit pay and overtime pay is a big ticket item each year in the budget. Of course, let’s not forget that WE pay for the sweetehart union pension benefits where public union employees get to retire at age 55, receiving 75 percent of their last year’s pay where they enjoy an annual 3 percent retirement pay raise and they get basically free healthcare.

    An Evanston Fire Chief just retired at age 51, and he will get from the state $97,000 every year with an annual 3 percent pay increase.

    It’s outrageous!!!

    1. How should the City accomplish that?
      Who do you propose will do the job of the firefighter you plan to cut? Are you proposing, while you ask for this cut, that it would be more financially responsible to hire full-time firefighters (with attached benefits, etc.) to cover the hours where we now use overtime? Maybe you’re proposing that existing firefighters grow extra arms and legs, or that the equipment be brought to emergencies by the power of thought?

      Each City employee is there to do a specific job – I am asking people to remember that if you cut an employee, you also cut the commensurate service. If instead of asking for lower taxes, we turn this discussion towards what services we can live without, it will be much more productive.

      1. When something is unaffordable, it has to be cut

        Michelle, I think the problem goes deeper than it being a simple matter of looking at the current situation and deciding on cuts. We are in the current position because of the past.

        Here’s how it works. Public employees in a union can threaten a strike. The city council, naturally, doesn’t want to upset the citizenry with a strike that will disrupt things. Who wants a council chamber full of red-faced citizens yelling about not having police or firemen on duty? The logistics of covering a police and or firemen strike are a nightmare. It’s far easier to settle with the union. Citizens get uninterrupted service over many years and all appears well. This is called kicking the can down the road. With each contract approaching, the policemen and firemen will say what you are saying – painting a picture of dire consequences, of an unprotected city at the mercy of criminals and fire.

        But the lack of any disruption in service over the years simply puts off the issue until a financial jam happens. It hands authority for pay to those being paid, never a good idea in any situation but easier with public service unions because there is no profit to be delivered and the bill can be passed to the taxpayer who is very much less likely to complain that he/she would be if no police of fire personnel were on duty. It’s not just police/fire, what would we do about garbage? This works reliably in favor of the union.

        Incredibly, this threat is issued to the taxpayer – the very party that has funded the long sequence of automatic pay and benefit raises and it is phrased as if the taxpayer is somehow to blame for not coming up with yet more funds to continue the payout, that the taxpayer doesn’t care about the very city he/she lives in.

        It can only end in one of two ways – severe cuts in services (or elimination of them entirely) or bankruptcy for the municipality which can result in labor contracts being renegotiated starting from a position of dollar number one.

        You seem impatient with Evanston citizens who say the cost is too high when you ask what can a citizen do to replace the skills of public workers. But that is not the pertinent question. The question to ask is why did politicians simply pass on the ever-increasing bill for so long and not break the spiral whose outcome is completely predictable when a strike is considered too terrible a threat? Unfunded liabilities are the talk of the day at every level of government in this country.

        Reduce services? Yes. Close a fire station? If that’s what it takes to meet the deficit. Shut down the city? Could be. Terrible though this may be, it is the cost that must be paid from the failure to face down demands for greater pay and benefits in the past when it seemed like signing off on a new contract was a no-cost option; when the can was simply given another kick.

        The fact is, the taxpayer’s pocket is not bottomless and nobody who pays taxes should feel the least bit guilty or have any remorse at the threat of city services being lost or well paid employees being laid off or put on furlough. Unions must be faced down or they will take everything and then some even when it leads to their own demise (factories leave town, jobs go overseas, etc.)

        We all appreciate our policemen and firemen and city employees, but only a fool would say that when their pay and benefits are at issue, anything goes. Good as they are, they aren’t priceless. They have done very very well by the Evanston taxpayer who owes them only what can be afforded for their services and no more.


        1. Rigtht On !

            Excellent.   But don’t expect residents to understand. 

           They still believe in the tooth-fairy, money will spring from the ground and anyway their kids will all go to Harvard, get jobs on Wall Street [which of course the parents rail at now] and escape Evanston and Illinois before the debt comes due and live in a city of milk and honey with no budget problems and everything provided free to them each morning.

        2. Public Employee Earnings

          Some stories have justified the public employee salaries being higher than private employers being from being better educated.   Beside public employees having more job security than private employees and much harder to get rid of—both which should result  in a lower pay for them, I think of what a wise man said,

          "The best minds are not in government, if any were business would hire them away."

          It is time to adjust the public sector pay to more reasonable levels truely in line with ability and job protection.


          1. Talent Flight

            The City of Evanston is currently losing one professional a month on average.  Most have left for better jobs in the private sector.  Consider Nancy Flowers.  She left Evanston as a direct result of Wally B’s reorganization scheme. She was a  very valuable asset to the community.  That talent is never coming back.     

          2. Business would hire them anyway?

            JohnF says:

            "The best minds are not in government, if any were business would hire them away." 

            What the right-wingers don’t seem to understand is that not everyone wants to work for Enron, B.P.,  Bank of America, or AIG.  Not for any amount of money.   There are many enquiring minds working in the Department of Justice,  armed forces,  Department of Energy laboratories,  Centers for Disease Control, and other government jobs.

    2. Free Health Care?
      Al, where are you getting your information about health care benefits for retiring firefighters? You might want to verify your facts. Please provide your sources…

    3. 3 issues…

      "Not one Evanston firefighter lost their job, and they not only get their annual merit pay increase but overtime pay as well."

      Three issues with this one short sentence:

      #1) No firefighters lost their jobs because the department is already understaffed, yet they did eliminate a position with the retirement of Deputy Chief Hunter at a cost savings of over 100K in salary & benefits.  This also eliminated a promotional opportunity within the department.

      #2) Annual merit raises save the city money in the long run, unless you want the city to pay topped-out salaries for all employees from the day they are hired until the day they retire.

      #3) Overtime pay–see #1.  Since the department is understaffed, firefighters must come in on their days off to fully staff the rigs to maintain proper response times for protecting lives and property.  Firefighters already work over 50-hour work weeks without additional compensation for "overtime."  Would you expect to work an additional 24 hours in YOUR work week without being paid for it?

  10. The issue of overtime for
    The issue of overtime for firefighters is a matter of safety for the city and its residents. It is not that EFD staff are demanding more pay; its a matter of the department being short on personnel. In order to adequately staff their stations they may have to pay someone who is off duty overtime to come in and work for the day.

    The idea of closing one of the stations is beyond ridiculous. As an example, if you close station 5 (2800 block of Central St.) and Engine and Truck 3 (1100 block of Central St.) are on the NU campus like the frequently are or have had to move south to assist with a larger incident there will be no one to respond to the needs of the people on the north side of Evanston. The same example can be applied to closing any of the other stations.

    Realistically, we should be increasing the fire department’s funding. For a city this size there is a need to staff a third ambulance. Skokie and Wilmette ambulances have had to respond to Evanston almost daily because we only have two normally. Skokie has nearly 10,000 fewer people and has 50% more ambulances than Evanston. Wilmette is much smaller and has the same number that Evanston does.

    Other public services such as waste and recycling pick up an can easily be outsourced, but let’s lay off the public safety workers.

  11. Evanston union firefighters sacrificed little in this Recession
    If the issue of overtime for Evanston fire fighters is safety then why did the former Evanston Fire Chief Alan Berkowsky recommend to cut $275,000 in overtime pay?

    Remember, Chief Berkowsky met several times earlier this year with the Evanston Fire union on issues to cut spending and staff in the fire department. One of the chief’s proposal was to cut overtime pay.

    Well lo and behold, there was no overtime cut, Evanston firefighters still got their annual pay raises and NOT ONE firefighter lost their job. In fact, the Evanston Fire Department gave least in the way of budget cuts.

    Afterward, Berkowsky, a union member himself, retired at age 51 and will get a $97,000 a year pension for life with an annual 3 percent pay raise.

    Yes, it’s like the fox guarding the hen house. In comparison, firefighters in numerous other cities volunteered pay cuts and overtime pay – Ann Arbor and Naperville are examples.

    As for closing or consolidating one of the five Evanston fire stations, consider that Skokie has 10.5 square miles but only three fire stations. Evanston has 8 square miles with FIVE fire stations, two on the same street 1.2 miles apart.

    The idea of closing one of the Evanston fire stations is NOT ridiculous. In fact, it has been discussed before.

    As for Evanston ambulance service – the answer is EZ. Do what many other cities are now doing – PRIVATIZE!!!

    The responsibility for this fiscal chicanery lay solely on the heads of the aldermen, mayor and every Democrat politician in this district who run the show.

    1. City Pension analysis

      The Daily Northwestern 5/19/10 has the clearest statement of the penison situation I’ve seen in a while.  http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/city/pension-fund-reform-on-illinois-legislature-s-docket-1.2267289

      As is pointed out many times the retirement age of 50 does not make sense in the 21st Century.   Granted by 60 some of physical task the police and firemen may start to be a strain [though from Chicago policemen I see weight not age are larger factors] but for some their must be other work or reduced active duty schedules.   If they retire at 50 or 55, I’m sure they won’t sit at home—no they will get another job and hopefully have got training for other work.  So retire or stay on the job, most will want to work to 65 anyway.  As with the private sector, 65+ should be the retirement age—I assume GM workers, plumbers, carpenters and many other physical laborer work [and would love to] until 65+.


      1. Pension situation not sustainable

        Yes, our current pension situation isn’t sustainable, but when will people wake up ?? We’re firing teachers, closing the branch libraries, unemployment grows, one out of 8 people in the US are on food stamps, Greeks are rioting in the streets, French unions are protesting against changes to their pensions, yet Evanstonians and other residents in Illinois allow the Illinois General Assembly to adjourn on May 7th before taking action to address this issue. Maybe if we ignore the problem for another 10 years it will go away. Maybe if we deny there is a problem, it will go away. Maybe if politicians don’t take action during their term in office they can leave it to the next generation. Maybe when the Ecology Center and Evanston Art Center close people will recognize there is a problem. Maybe people will grow up and realize that it’s our responsibilty to take appropriate action today to fix this issue so that our children and grandchildren don’t suffocate under the debt we are going to leave them. Maybe…

  12. Too many issues to count

    How is it that the Evanston Fire Department is understaffed?

    What is the benchmark of a fully staffed department?

    If one of the Evanston’s fire stations were closed, and a few firemen from that station were shifted to the remaining fire stations, would your department be understaffed? Remember, Skokie only has three fire stations covering 10.5 square miles while Evanston has five covering 8 square miles.

    I find it laughable to any suggestion that annual merit pay increase saves the city money in the longterm? Budgeting is usually done for the shorterm. That’s why the city decides on the budget annually. 

    Let’s not forget that fire departments in other cities such as Naperville and Ann Arbor volunteered no overtime pay, no merit pay increases, unpaid time off and so on. Naperville FD made these sacrifices LAST YEAR!

    The Evanston Fire Department fared the best in all city department budget cuts.

    I’m sorry but in these tough economic times where home values are declining yet property taxes are rising with democrats promising another income tax hike, unemployment at 11.7 percent and MOST people who are lucky to still have jobs are taking pay cuts with no annual pay raise, it seems the Evanston Fire Department could have made more sacrifices.

    But as we know through the massive union protest two weeks ago in Springfield demanding a TAX RAISE, public unions are more concerned about their jobs and pension perks than the taxpayers they serve. These public unions seem to forget, it is not the Democrats that are their bosses, it is the taxpayers.

    And right now my friend, when taxpayers see the pay raises, overtime pay, and unjustified job security going on with government unions, it sets off the fire alarms in their minds and they are red hot on fire angry. (puns intended)

  13. It wont happen to you, right?

    Everyone wants to cut the Fire/ EMS service until THEY have an emergency.  Evanston has to deal with a very high call volume compared to other citys its size.  They can barely keep up as it is.  They have help from bordering towns everyday to keep their response times under 4 min.  You do realize you go brain dead in 6 right?  But thats ok, because it wont happen to YOU, RIGHT?  How about we cut the station in YOUR area!  

    OR, just learn to save yourself.

    They pay into their pensions every pay check because they do not get social security.  They are entitled to that just like you are with your soc sec when you retire. 

    Id love for you to work 72 hours a week straight through the night then work a 2nd job just to pay for your 3 kids colleges.  Which puts their work hours over 100 a week.  Easy right?  They cap out at a ceiling so of course they need an extra job to help pay for retirement, children, house etc.  

    Educate yourself on how it really works.  When was the last time you visited the station in YOUR AREA and asked questions??  Exactly. 

    Know your facts.  Know your numbers.  Understand how their jobs work before you throw stones. 

    There are other options than being drastic and laying off a person. YES A PERSON.  NOT JUST A NUMBER.

    Fyi, they have in their contract that they cannot strike.  Again, know your facts.

  14. City Expenditure Accounting that “can’t shoot straight”

    EvanstonRoundtable "Council Bytes"
    The Administration and Public Works Committee tussled with the list of bills for the first time in over a year. … Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, questioned …about FICA payments of more than $10,000… Firefighters hired after … mid-1980s do not pay social security payroll taxes… Nevertheless, the City paid FICA and deducted funds from two individual’s paychecks.
    "It just makes you feel that, God, what else are we missing?" said Ald. Rainey.
    A cable bill for the Howard Street police outpost that should have been assigned to Mason Park also caught Ald. Rainey’s eye. … A loan to the business "I Dream of Sweets" on Dempster Street so the business could construct a bathroom…Lionel Jean-Baptiste…asked, "How could this happen?"
    Sounds like the City/Council is using the same accounting software and auditors that Enron used.   Hopefully they would have caught, and we don’t have, a Bernie Madoff type problem !
    These are the people trying to budget for the city, keep the city solvent and pay our bill [using our taxes of course].
  15. [Near] future headline about Evanston finances ?

    EvanstonNow headline in 201_ ?
    "The other extreme is declaring bankruptcy. This was the approach taken by [Evanston Il.]… It has a particularly severe case of a very common problem in…the country at large, which is that the pensions promised to its police and firefighters were not only over-generous but also based on wildly optimistic investment assumptions. So the city chose bankruptcy in the hope that it might be able restructure some of those pension promises. Whether it succeeds remains to be seen."
    No not Evanston yet [really Vallejo Calif. Economist July 10, 2010] but if we don’t start taking the pension and other spending issues, who knows !
  16. Fire and Police Cover Wilmette ?

    A recent news story was that two California towns fired their police department for budget reasons.   [Appears county or state police will handle their needs].

    Perhaps Evanston and Skokie can take over the police function of Wilmette—each covering a close section of Wilmette.  I don’t know if it would be possible for the fire department.

    Wilmette would of course pay for such coverage.  They would eliminate their future pension obligation and Evanston/Skokie would obtain more funds for covering pensions—though a fraction of the Wilmette police [fire?] added to the might have to be added to Evanston/Skokie.


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