Roughly half of Evanston Now readers responding to an online survey say funding for the city’s reparations program for Black residents should be maintained at its current level by the new City Council to be elected next spring.

Another 18% say funding for the program should be substantially increased, but nearly a third of residents want to see funding reduced or have the program eliminated.

The totals have been adjusted to reflect the racial distribution of the city’s population. Asian and Black residents were under-represented among respondents to the survey.

Evanston Now is surveying its readers about a variety of issues relevant to the 2021 municipal election campaign.

We sent invitations to participate in the survey to readers of our email newsletters and 475 people responded.

The City Council has pledged to spend up to $1 million a year for the next 10 years on reparations programs, with the funding to come from the tax on recreational cannabis sales.

So far, with only one cannabis dispensary operating in the city, monthly tax revenues have fallen short of a level that would meet the $1 million annual target. But city officials hope additional dispensaries will open here in 2021.

Black residents show the strongest support for the reparations program with 57% saying funding should be substantially increased in 2022.

White residents most strongly favored maintaining the program at its current funding level, with 59% choosing that option.

Asian residents and persons who identified as multiracial or members of some other race were most likely to favor eliminating the program, with 36% of Asians and 41% in the “other” group choosing that option.

Support for the reparations program is weakest among the middle age group in the survey, with only 59% of people between 40 and 59 years old favoring maintaining or increasing funding for the program, while 71% of those 18 to 39 years old and 70% of those 60 and over favor maintaining or increasing reparations funding.

If you aren’t currently registered to receive Evanston Now newsletters, but would like to participate in future reader surveys, you can sign up here.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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