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Vote delayed on township tax levy

The City Council Monday postponed approval of the $1.3 million tax levy for Evanston Township after an alderman suggested the tax rate should be cut.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the township is building up too much money in its reserve fund by over-estimating the number of general assistance clients it will need to serve.

Rosemary Jean-Paul, the executive director of the township, said that with the recent downturn in the economy, township officials expect to see an upsurge in requests for assistance.

She added that wrongful discharge lawsuits filed by former employees of Township Assessor Sharon Eckersall could result in large judgments the township would have to pay.

But Rainey said the township has been making the same arguments for years, while extra reserves have continued to pile up.

She also said a recent audit of the township’s books showed "just a terrible situation regarding the administration and accounting for money in the township."

The City Council has to set a tax levy for the township by the end of the year, but on a motion by Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, the aldermen voted to delay a decision until their next meeting, Dec. 8.

The aldermen approved a combined levy of $27.7 million for the city’s general and police and fire pension funds as well as a half-million levy for Special Service Area 4 downtown.

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