At the final deliberative meeting of the citizens’ budget committee, held on Nov. 30 in City Council chambers, the nearly 30 participants threshed out eight priorities to recommend next week to City Council.

Winnowing these suggestions from the more than 100 (some duplicative or overlapping) they had formulated in the small-group process of previous meetings, the members cast their votes by placing stickers next to the recommendations they favored in five “option” areas: improved efficiencies; service-level changes; cost containment; other innovations; and general revenue strategies.

The group found consensus on the following recommendations:

  • Personnel: Cuts, reduction of hours, 27 votes
  • Solid waste/recycling/yard waste: Changes in service, charges, etc., 16 votes
  • Township: Closing the Township office, now located on Dodge Avenue, and moving the Township operations back to the Civic Center, 15 votes
  • Water: Selling water to more communities, 11 votes
  • Library: Closing the branch libraries (and selling the North Branch property), 10 votes
  • Parking: Offering reduced-price parking passes to employees of downtown businesses to park on the upper levels of parking garages, leaving the lower levels to business patrons, 8 votes
  • Life safety: Closing one fire station, 7 votes
  • Lakefront: Establishing or developing a fine-arts district, operated by the City, at the lakefront, 5 votes

The other recommendations received four votes or fewer.

These recommendations, together with staff recommendations, will be presented to City Council on Dec. 7. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., following a Council meeting on solid-waste disposal at 6 p.m., in Council chambers, 2100 Ridge Ave.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...