Heading into the fourth fiscal quarter, the City’s finances are “very stable,” said Deputy City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Martin Lyons at the Nov. 17 City Council meeting. Revenues and expenditures in the General Fund, the City’s main operating budget, are about on par, he said, “but we look better than we are. There are three pay periods in December.”

The police department, fire and life safety division and the parks/recreation and community service department are all slightly over budget, Mr. Lyons said. With the summer gone, expenses for the parks and recreation division should lessen, he said.

The City has collected 79% of its projected revenues, without counting the revenues from wheel-tax payments, which are still coming in. “We’ve collected 99% of property tax revenues – a really great sign of [economic] recovery,” he said. Other revenues have come from building permit fees, including one large permit fee from Northwestern Univeristy.

Enterprise funds – those that the City would like to be self-sustaining – are doing “fairly well,” Mr. Lyons said. The parking fund, the water and sewer fund and the solid waste disposal fund are the City’s main enterprise funds. The solid waste disposal fund has not been self-sustaining for years, as the City subsidizes the cost of recycling pickups, but it is “continuing to inch its way up to being in the black,” he said.

“Stability” is the tag Mr. Lyons used for the present budget. “We’re right where we want to be.”

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asked about funds remaining in the Southwest, or Sam’s Club, tax-increment financing (TIF) district. The City plans to retire the TIF this year, and there is an $800,000 surplus.

“Did we analyze every single possible expenditure?” Ald. Rainey asked. Mr. Lyons replied in the affirmative. “We don’t have enough projects to use all that surplus,” he said.

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...