City manager nixes end-of-year furlough day

Julia Jacobs, City Editor

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Illinois Budget Crisis

There will not be a furlough day for city employees at the end of December, now that city officials believe state cuts to local governments won’t hit Evanston before the end of the year, the city manager announced Thursday.

After nearly five months without an Illinois budget, Evanston is still awaiting likely cuts to its share of state income taxes. However, Evanston’s 2015 budget seems like it can be balanced without the need for the money-saving furlough day on Dec. 31, which would require staff to take unpaid time off, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz wrote in a statement to city staff.

“What is clear is that it is very unlikely that the state will have a budget by the end of our current fiscal year, December 31,” Bobkiewicz said in a statement. “This allows city budget staff to have a clearer picture of our challenges as we look to conclude the current fiscal year 2015.”

Bobkiewicz first introduced the potential of furlough days as a budget balancing measure in July. Although city officials reneged on the idea of a furlough day in September, plans for a December furlough day remained on the table.

Bobkiewicz said the city’s 2015 budget is stable despite missing funds from motor fuel tax revenue, which Illinois has withheld from local governments since the state entered its next fiscal year without a budget on July 1. The Illinois House passed a bill last week to release certain funds to local governments including motor fuel tax revenue, which helps fund some Evanston staff.

Although the bill has yet to move forward, the city should receive the tax revenue by the end of the year, Bobkiewicz said.

Twitter: @juliarebeccaj