Some aldermen say they think Evanston Township’s budget reserves are too high, but the City Council rejected an effort Monday to tap those funds to reduce next year’s tax bills.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the township now has reserve funds totaling more than its entire annual budget.

“I believe in reserves, but not equal to 100 percent of the annual budget,” Rainey said.

The city’s budget policy calls for keeping a general fund reserve equal to one month of operating expenses.

But Township Supervisor Patricia Vance had left the meeting by the time the budget discussion began and other aldermen were reluctant to make major changes in the budget without her input.

The council has been considering the township budget off-and-on for three months and faced a deadline to approve it by the end of this month.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste said the council will have another chance to take a look at the issue, because it doesn’t have to finally set next year’s tax levy until the end of this year.

With that the aldermen voted 7-1 to approve the township budget, after approving $12,950 in cuts to the township assessor’s budget proposed by Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, who served as township assessor before his election to the council.

Those cuts reduce the assessor’s budget to $86,826.

Township budget calls for spending about $1.2 million for general assistance and other township operations beyond the assessor’s office.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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