City Council to vote on 2020 budget, reparations fund


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th). Rue Simmons led a town hall meeting Thursday to address residents concerns about students coming back to campus.

Emma Edmund, Assistant City Editor

City Council plans to vote on the 2020 budget and the creation of funding source for a reparations fund at Monday’s meeting.

The budget, which the city released Oct. 4 and introduced at the Nov. 18 meeting, amounts to almost $321 million. The city held a public hearing regarding the budget on Oct. 26, with a separate hearing on proposed property tax levies held on Oct. 28.

Several revisions have been made to the budget since it was first proposed, including parking ticket revenue reduction as a result of ending Sunday parking meter enforcement and a $100,000 reduction in expenses for the Human Services Fund. The latter will be achieved by holding one position vacant in 2020.

There will also be an expected $200,000 increase of revenue from Welsh-Ryan Arena events. City Council recently passed an ordinance allowing Northwestern to hold for-profit events at the arena in a two-year pilot program. The council received pushback from residents on this proposal, with some questioning whether the University showed that no harm would come to the community.

“The relevant currency here is whether the zoning amendment meets Evanston’s standards and whether the application has met its burden of proof,” resident Ken Proskie said at the Nov. 11 City Council meeting.

Also allocated in the budget is a reparations fund, which would receive $250,000 from a recreational cannabis tax. The council is expected to vote on the creation of the fund, which would go toward support for the city’s black residents, though the city has not outlined specifics.

Some aldermen at the Nov. 18 council meeting encouraged residents to donate to the fund, in addition to the city’s pledged $10 million.

“All amounts are accepted — including $10 million,” said Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th) at the meeting.

City Council also plans to vote this week on a slew of tax levies, including the 2019 City of Evanston Tax Levy, the General Assistance 2019 Tax Levy and the 2019 Evanston Library Fund Tax Levy.

City staff also recommend raising the amusement tax from four to five percent, which council will also vote on Monday.

Other notable votes slated to on this meeting’s agenda include amendments to the city’s Code of Ethics and the possession of recreational cannabis, as well as a two-year contract with Rose Pest Solutions, Inc. for rodent control at residential locations and public places.

The City Council meeting will begin Monday at 6 p.m. at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.

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Twitter: @emmaeedmund

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