The City of Evanston is conducting an online poll this weekend seeking residents’ priorities for city services, suggestions for program cuts and ideas for generating new revenue.

The City of Evanston is conducting an online poll this weekend seeking residents’ priorities for city services, suggestions for program cuts and ideas for generating new revenue.

The poll, on the city website, will be available until midnight on Tuesday.

The city manager is scheduled to unveil his proposed budget for the coming year by Friday. He’s said the city needs to close a $3.5 million gap between projected general fund revenue and expenditures.

If that gap isn’t closed, when combined with increases in pension payments and bond debt already approved by the City Council, Evanston homeowners could see an increase of nearly 13 percent in their city property taxes next year.

You can find more stories about the city’s budget here and watch replays of city budget meetings on cable channel 16 in Evanston this weekend.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Flawed Poll

    Why does the poll say "Cut. . . " and "Eliminate" for some items, but it just says "Library" and "Library Branches"? Since it lumps together revenue enhancement items and expense reductions in one list, how do I know that I’m not voting for Library as some kind of revenue enhancement? 

    Badly designed and completely pointless, since line items don’t indicate how much could be raised/saved with each one. Sure, enforcing the leaf blower ban would be nice but is it going to fill a $3.5 hole?

    1. Pointless questionnaire

      Yes, it is badly designed and completely pointless.  I started to fill it out, but then I saw that some of the choices for spending cuts/revenue increases included nonsense like the above mentioned ‘enforcing the leaf blower ban’ and "council should top spending money that we don’t have’", that I figured that there was absolutely no point in filling it out.

      I would like to know who designed this survey, how it will be analyzed (other than just tabulating responses), and what how it will be used by any City officials or aldermen.  Is anyone going to seriously use these results?

      Maybe I will get on Survey Monkey and create my own poll:

      What is the dumbest choice on the City of Evanston Survey?

      "No feasibility studies for outside developers"   So who will build that 5-star hotel or convention center?  

      "Create TIF surpluses"  (why don’t we create sales tax and property tax surpluses too, while we are at it?)

      "Lease out Ecology Center to Starbucks"      Yeah..does Starbucks want to move in there?  Why not Peet’s?  Why not Trader Joe’s?

      "Take lowest bids"   (um…are we not doing that already?  And anyway, a ‘lowest’ bid is not necessarily the best – there are more sophisticated ways to analyze proposals)


      1. Vox pop

        The questions, or suggestions, you object to were ones offered by people who showed up for the budget workshops as ideas for dealing with the deficit.

        It would seem to be difficult to come up with a mechanism for filtering out what might be the less practical ones without having their proponents cry censorship — at least not without holding additional budget workshops to analyze the ideas.

        — Bill

        1. Silliness of referendum

          I guess we should all vote for  "Council should stop spending money it doesn’t have" ..then once they get that pointless result back, they will conduct another survey to determine which cuts to make or how to get more revenue (leaf blowers!).

          This shows the pointless of overly participatory democracy..when people try to run a government by referendum (Civic Center?) or by having thugs show up at Town Meetings (tea party?) or whichever faction can get the most people to show up at Council meetings (Friends of Library, Enemies of Tower) , we get this kind of nonsense.  

          It also shows that we need full time professionals running the government..that means people like Wally.  It also shows that simplistic solutions like ‘firing all the bureaucrats’, have being a  Congressmen a part-time job and paying Council less money .   This isn’t the kind of stuff that you can do in your spare time one or two evenings per month.    They need to be accountable at the ballot box, but the cheap FOX News demagoguery against "elites" will get us nowhere.

  2. Referendum

    Some items on it were too obvious not to have been done already.  Certainly if there is excess space at City Hall it should be rented out.

    If the size of city government was cut and offices consolidated, and useless functions eliminated, they could probably move City Hall to a much smaller space [like Maple and Emerson] and sell the current building and all that land.   Since Evanston employees should [must?] live in Evanston and there is Metra and CTA [besides bikes and legs] no parking lot should be needed.

    Certainly an elimination of consultants, esp. from outside Evanston, If the Council would get over their hate of NU, they could use the NU resources.  If the City did not discourage new business, a city like Evanston has the talent or could attract it, to create both consulting, software and other professional firms.

    Remember the Central Street Planning Consulting ? They proposed putting a hotel in the Ryan Field parking lot.  Now it does not take a lot of brains to know that won’t/can’t happen.  When told so I assume the consultants said "…well you did not tell us we could not put up a hotel…"

    So they charged for the first plan, then probably revised the plan and charged us again !  What did the plan accomplish ? Probably kept businesses out and with the downturn reduced employment in Evanston and told potential businesses "don’t even think of starting a business in Evanston, they will tie you up with zoning, studies, consultants, fees and then if you do move in taxes, sign inspections and general harassment.

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