Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Some residents question council’s tax increase

Though some residents have criticized a new increase in property taxes, city officials said Evanston needs as much money as possible to settle the $140 million deficit in the fire and police pension funds.

The Evanston City Council approved a 7.02 percent tax increase last Wednesday. The measure will generate an extra $2,444,096 for the city and raise Evanston residents’ tax bill by 1.39 percent.

The council passed the tax levy 8-1, with the majority of aldermen saying they could not justify making any more cuts in city spending.

Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) said the council made the best decision it could under the circumstances.

“Where else are we going to get the money? We cut as many things as we possibly could,” she said. “I didn’t see any other choice.”

Other new revenue sources approved at the meeting include making one full-time city position into two part-time jobs, saving Evanston $10,000, and instituting an $80 vehicle registration fee increase for non-residents who park their cars in the city.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) was the only alderman who voted against the measure. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but said at the Feb. 27 budget meeting she “(had) never seen a council more complacent about raising people’s taxes.”

Rainey noted that if the council had passed a measure increasing the “prepared food and non-alcoholic beverage tax” by 1 percent and decreasing the liquor tax by 2 percent, the city would have raised $500,000. That would have allowed the tax levy to drop to 5.7 percent.

Evanston resident and former Seventh Ward aldermanic candidate Junad Rizki said the city needs to dramatically rethink the way it is structured and eliminate wasteful government positions before it raises taxes.

“The real problem is the operation of the city … (The council is) not facing up to the fact that the problem is the way the city runs,” he said. “The problem is, we have too many things we’re doing here that probably don’t add a lot of value.”

Evanston resident Vito Brugliera, McCormick ’55, said the increases should be replaced by a careful reconsideration of which city services should be priorities.

“It’s not just the taxes, it’s the fees,” he said. “They’re nickel-and-diming everyone. As far as cuts go, they haven’t even touched it. They’ve touched it, but they haven’t done a satisfactory job. Two branch libraries – are those necessities or are they niceties?”

Holmes said the council has Evanston’s best interests in mind.

“We worked with what we had to work with, and we did the best we could,” she said.

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Some residents question council’s tax increase