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Next year’s budget deficit ‘less than’ $9M

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz offered a hint about size of Evanston’s projected budget deficit for next year at Tuesday night’s budget workshop — saying it likely will be less than the $9 million deficit the city faced in preparing this year’s budget.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz offered a hint about size of Evanston’s projected budget deficit for next year at Tuesday night’s budget workshop — saying it likely will be less than the $9 million deficit the city faced in preparing this year’s budget.

But he avoided offering a precise number for the anticipated shortfall, saying he’ll provide that in time for the City Council’s midyear budget review meeting next Monday. He said city staffers are still working out the exact numbers and making adjustments to deal with the planned 10-month duration of the next budget as the city moves to a calendar year budget schedule.

He said the city will face another challenging year with projected expenses once again far exceeding revenue. The city currently spends just under $225 million a year, the largest single slice from its $87 million general fund which is most severely affected by the projected revenue shortfall.

About 40 people, including roughly 10 city staff members, attended the workshop session in the City Council chambers, which included a presentation from the city’s Director of Administrative Services, JoEllen Earl, which noted that some revenue sources — like the real estate transfer tax and building permit fees — have declined dramatically in recent years, while others — including parking ticket revenue — have essentially held steady.

Residents offered a variety of suggestions for cutting expenditures, improving efficiencies and increasing revenue from non-tax sources. They also asked a lot of questions about the city’s finances — which the staff promised to have answers for in time for the final community budget workshop at the Levy Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

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