After nearly an hour of debate, Evanston’s Finance and Budget Committee managed to recommend approval of a budget housekeeping resolution Tuesday night on a split vote.

The resolution — like one adopted by City Council every year, usually without much debate — gives the city the flexibility to use general fund revenue to pay for work on Council-authorized capital improvement projects and then reimburse the general fund from a general obligation bond issue sale later in the year, if such a sale takes place.

Without such a resolution, Committee Chair David Livingston and city CFO Hitesh Desai explained, under state regulations the city could only use GO bond money to reimburse project expenses paid within the last 60 days before the bond sale.

So failing to adopt such a resolution could potentially lead to running short on general fund reserves later in the year.

Clare Kelly.

But Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) insisted that approving the resolution saying the maximum principal amount of bonds “expected” to be issued was $17.7 million was tantamount to actually approving the issuance of that much debt.

Desai said the Council would have to adopt a separate ordinance to authorize the issuance of any bonds and noted that the council approved a similar resolution last year and ended up not issuing any bonds at all.

Jonathan Nieuwsma.

After considerable debate, Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) proposed striking the word “expected” from the text of the resolution, to reduce any sense that the size of the bond issue was a foregone conclusion.

That amendment carried and the committee voted 6-2 to recommend City Council approval of the amended resolution, with Kelly and committee member Leslie McMillan voting no.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Hi Finance Committee,

    I am so happy that David Livingston is boldly trying to address the elephant in the room. Capital Improvements should be front and center and when we start giving them the attention that is mandated in our budgetary process, then, only, can we move forward to begin the process of becoming fiscally sound. They are a fact that has been ignored, as has a reasonable accurate accounting of annualized maintenance on all properties held by the City of Evanston. Why we are spending 1 million on a Skating Park and 4 million on an Animal Shelter when we are unable to balance our budget is fiscally irresponsible. We need to begin to see the world in more realistic terms as far as how we manage our monies. Please keep moving forward in transparency and disciplined spending and our city, will then prosper, when we don’t have to squeeze the taxpayer because of our deficiency in money management.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *