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As residents, taxpayers and observers of the community, we appreciate the work of City staff to bring the upcoming budget cycle to a close without increasing the City’s portion of the property tax bill.

Of course, we understand that every public budget comes at a cost to taxpayers. We still have to pay our employees, our bills and our other civic obligations.

We need to keep providing services to keep the City going. Beyond that, many want the City to provide services that do not fall into the basic categories of public safety and transportation but cling to the “quality of life” edge that makes life in Evanston rich and varied.

It is going to take some time to accustom ourselves to this new, tense, straitened economy – one where there is much need and little money. Our personal plans have changed – been dropped or deferred – and our plans as a City and as a school community must undergo similar metamorphoses.

This is a time for cutting back, pruning and conserving.

But here’s the rub: Because we are a consumer-driven economy, saving rather than spending cuts into the economy of others, especially the small shops and restaurants that depend on our patronage to survive.

Not being economists, we do not know whether this sort of thinking is a vicious circle or a downward spiral.

We hope, instead, that it is Möbius strip. Then the journey that might appear to take us from one side to another, or from top to bottom, will in fact bring us back to where we want to be – helping the Evanston economy.

So, as a community we should save where we can, conserve where we can and, if we find we can or have to spend, try to spend it here.