Ald. Devon Reid (8th) proposed new and increased taxes and fees during a special City Council meeting on the city budget Monday night.

His proposals included:

  • Expanding the non-resident charge for parking at the lakefront to apply to city recreation facilities like the Crown Center and the Levy Center.
  • Increasing the wheel tax by another $5 next year, after a $5 increase this year, to raise $250,000.
  • Increasing the city’s gasoline tax by 33% — from 3-cents to 4-cents a gallon, to raise $200,000.
  • Imposing a tax on the use of plastic bags.
  • Generating more sales and tobacco tax revenue by authorizing the establishment of Hookah bars in the city.

He suggested the new taxes and fees could add perhaps $1 million in new revenue for the city next year and suggested spending the money to further expand the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan efforts.

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) questioned whether the parking charge at the rec centers might reduce the number of non-residents who sign up for revenue-generating programs at the centers.

But Reid said, “I don’t think so.”

Before making beach access free for city residents, the city generated about $1 million a year from resident and non-resident beach token fees.

Hitesh Desai, the city’s CFO said that this year the city has generated $513,000 in non-resident token revenue and Reid said the parking fees have added another $300,000.

“That takes us back to roughly where we were on beach revenue” before the city stopped charging residents for tokens, Reid said.

Reid, who has said he doesn’t own a car, said his proposed increase in the motor fuel tax would still leave Evanston’s tax on gasoline just half the 8-cent rate charged by Chicago.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) suggested creating a “dynamic parking” program for the recreation centers — charging more at peak hours.

It was unclear from discussion during the meeting whether any other council members supported the tax and fee increases Reid was proposing, but they may be up for introduction as formal proposals at the Council’s regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 14.

At the request of Mayor Daniel Biss the council voted to table the budget and tax levy ordinances that had been on the special meeting agenda for introduction, until the Nov. 14 meeting.

That will leave the budget process on track for final budget approval to occur at a special Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 21.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Nickel and diming the population to meet climate goals but not willing to fund pensions …. a perfect snapshot of our city council in action.

  2. Maybe Reid doesn’t need a car, but plenty of poor and working class people do. Make it more expensive to own and operate a car here, and they’ll leave. They’re the ones least able to afford these taxes and fees. Not very equitable, is it?

  3. Perhaps Mr. Reid is seeking these new revenues to pay for the new PR staff he requested the City to provide to Alderpersons…who can help rehabilitate his image after seeking to raise taxes. Kind of a vicious circle.

  4. As most Evanston residents need to go through Skokie to get to the highway, we should try to keep in line with Skokie gas taxes, not Chicago. To state the obvious, more taxes relative to competition will drive lower total sales revenue through loss of business to competition (I try to buy my gas in Lake County). Not to mention the moral issues with raising a highly regressive tax that most hurts the working poor who drive cars. Alder-persons should be required to take Econ 101 before giving input on taxing decisions.

  5. Don’t understand why people are complaining about such modest tax increases to support such important issues as climate change. The city has to make its budget money somehow, and nothing these days is free.

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