Evanston city officials have proposed cutting nearly 40 jobs — including five police officers and nine firefighters — slashing the public health department budget, closing one recreation center, and closing and selling a fire station in order to deal with a $7.4 million deficit expected in the city’s fiscal year 2019 budget.
“The public has said loud and clear that they don’t want a property tax increase, so this budget does not have one,” City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said Thursday.“That doesn’t mean we’ll continue doing everything we’ve always done.” The 2019 fiscal year runs Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
The discussion comes as Evanston deals with decreasing property tax revenue, increasing employee and pension costs, anticipated bond debt to pay for capital improvements around town and costs to rebuild the Robert Crown Community Center, among other factors, city staff has said.
The reserve fund, which ideally should have 16.6 percent of the city's annual operating expenses, ended 2017 at 12.8 percent, according to city officials.
As such, $1.5 million of Evanston’s operating budget is marked for “contribution to general fund reserve,” according to budget documents presented Thursday.