Evanston was one of two towns featured last night on a WLS television late news report on municipal debt levels in Chicago’s suburbs.

The report, which rehashed numbers from a Cook County Treasurer’s Office report issued almost three months ago, noted that the city last year had a total of $331 million in debts and liabilities.

That number, though, is down just a tad from from nearly $333 million in 2010, according to the treasurer’s office

The reduction in total debt came despite an increase in unfunded pension liabilities from $203 million to $206 million between 2010 and 2011. .

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons got to recap for the camera that Evanston has laid off about 60 employees in recent years, contracted out trash hauling and slowed replacement of parkway trees as part of its effort to trim costs and bring the debt level under control.

The TV report also looked at Des Plaines, and concluded that neither town is among the worst in the metro area in terms of the size of its debt burden.

Update 8/2/12: A Better Government Association report that provided the background for the WLS story and also looked at finances in Oak Park can be found here.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Not surprised

    Gee, decades of "progressive" governing has led to gargantuan debt liabilities?  Is anyone surprised?  By giving government the ability to defer promises, it created a moral hazard wherein future generations could be fleeced for present ones.

    While I love Evanston (I was born and raised here), I am dismayed that we've continued down this path for so long.  We've known for some time that deferring liabilities and subsidizing our way to prosperity doesn't work.

    Yet here we are, doing more of the same.

  2. Story may not paint the entire picture of Evanston debt

    In reading the story, you are being given the impression the city is actually fixing its problems, which clearly is not the case, the so called economic development we are luckly if were breaking even.

    The story tells you the city selling assets, here again, the city has been buying numerous useless assets such as Wine Bars on Howard street.

    Look at even the employee cuts, no were near what many other cities have done, and Wally has add plenty of new positions, remember recently the city claimed it $350,000 on legal fees. quess what at the last meeting they hire another lawyer, by the way as I noted they did not save anywhere near the $350,000, when you come into the civic center someone wasted taxpayer money to pay for a printed poster claiming this bongus savingss.

    The BGA story lacks, any real understanding of the problems, it looked like they just interviewed a few people ( The Mayor's nonsense about the golf course, which all the city is doing is giving it water, as if that creating any budget problem, try the mismanagemnet at the water plant  as part of your real problem)and look at a few statistics,  we will know soon enough when Wally raises taxes and fees in a few months whats really going on.

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 *