As Evanston City Council members met to review the record-high 2024 proposed city budget Monday night, most of the residents who turned out to offer advice called for them to spend more.
Matt Cotter, co-chair of the Environment Board, drew applause from other environmentalists in the audience when he called for adding $1.5 million in spending to the sustainability fund.
He was joined by about a half dozen other climate activists calling for more spending on environmental programs.
Kemone Hendricks, one of several speakers supporting the participatory budgeting program, says the city should devote at least 1% of its total budget — or about $4.5 — to that.
That would be an increase from the $3.5 million, including administrative costs, allocated this year for a test run of the program.
As submitted by the city manager, the 2024 budget doesn’t include a participatory budgeting component.
“My project didn’t get approved,” Hendricks said, “but I met other people who want to push it forward.”
Melissa Monitor, chair of the city’s arts council pushed for more funding for the arts.
But Leslie McMillan, a member of the city’s Finance and Budget Committee, and a few other speakers , took a contrary view.
“My heart dropped when I first saw the budget,” McMillan said.
The city, she said, needs to make some cuts and get a much better handle on reserves.
“We need to learn to do more with less.” she added.