The City of Evanston’s efforts to close a multi-million dollar budget gap go public again Saturday morning with a three-hour citizen budget input session at the Robert Crown Center.
If you’re among the people who have taken the city’s budget survey since it launched earlier this month you may be left with the impression that the budget process has a lot in common with trying to change the tires on a car while the car is in motion.
Many of the questions ask you to endorse glittering generalities, like “determining the most cost effective way to provide” a service.
What, you’re opposed to “cost effective” service delivery?
Then there are the questions that ask you to make a snap judgment about whether some department can’t possibly bear the burden of any cuts.
“A 3 percent reduction in operating budget for police?” Heavens no! Crime will run rampant! Or, maybe it won’t. The survey gives no basis for reaching an informed decision.
Bottom line, it seems city staff hasn’t had the time to come up with a meaningful cost-benefit analysis for most of the proposals on the table, just three weeks before the city manager has to deliver a proposed budget to the City Council.
But hey, democracy is a messy process, and we’ll get to see some more of it in action on Saturday.