City passes $36M budget

City of Evanston Treasurer Trudy Lym talks about the city budget, which council members passed during the June 21 city council meeting. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON  A public hearing to allow public comments on the City of Evanston’s budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 and runs through June 30, 2023, was the first item on the agenda for the Evanston City Council’s regular meeting on June 21. City attorney Dennis Boal opened the hearing and asked treasurer Trudy Lym to address the budget.

Boal said the budget had been published in the newspaper as required by law and citizens had an opportunity to review it.

Lym read a letter she had prepared and reminded everyone that the amounts in the budget are a forecast of potential revenues and estimated expenses and are used as a guide. She explained that the biggest portion of city revenue comes from sales, motor vehicle, gasoline, tobacco, severance, and federal mineral royalty taxes.

Additional funds come from direct distribution funds from the state as well as lottery, pari-mutuel, skill-based-game income and property tax, which help to cover expenses in the general fund. The city also receives funds from a variety of grants.

“We are proposing to set up a tiered water rate structure to encourage the community to conserve,” Lym said. “These tiered rates can be found in the fee schedule and will only affect single-family residential customers. The tiered rates will go into effect with September water usage.”

Lym added that there will also be a 10-cent increase in the consumption rate on wastewater to cover costs of updates to the sewer system. There are no proposed increases to sanitation or landfill.

Enterprise funds, which come from fees, and grants have reserved amounts set aside to begin upcoming work on replacing and repairing existing water and sewer lines. Grant monies have been received to replace the roof at the E Hill water tank and for a transmission line to be built to the Twin Ridge water tank.

“Overall, our total budget is estimated at $36,176,459. This amount includes all funds, personnel and capital projects; $2,021,475 of these expenditures will come from money received from the American Rescue Plan Act,” Lym said. “Additionally, projects and spending are carefully evaluated as revenues are received and we will continue to apply for additional grants.”

Lym closed her presentation by thanking the mayor, the council members and the city staff for their help in reviewing the budget and providing important input.

Boal then asked those in attendance if anyone wished to make any comments or speak to the budget. When no one addressed the council, Boal closed the public hearing.

Mayor Kent Williams thanked Lym and staff for their hard work on the budget.

“It is a fairly large budget,” Williams said, “but still frugal, and I appreciate the departments for their frugality. Over the last few years, we have been able to put money aside for different projects, and we are moving forward.”

The council then unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the City to provide the necessary income to finance the budget and provide for and authorize the annual appropriation of funds for the now-current fiscal year.

Lym thanked the council and mayor for the approval of the budget.

Evanston Director of Engineering and Planning Dean Barker addressed the council asking for approval of a contract agreement with Kilgore Companies dba Lewis and Lewis, Inc. for the completion of all work on the 2022 street overlay project. Barker said he received four bids and Kilgore’s bid was the lowest at $470,000. He said Kilgore did a good job on the Harrison Drive project. The council unanimously approved the contract.

Barker then addressed a motion concerning a bid of $253,629 from Consolidated Paving and Concrete for the summer 2022 street chip seal project. 

“The bid was higher than I expected,” Barker said. “This is on Overthrust, south to the Ranches, and we think it would be a good idea to wait another year on this as City View is going to be a big project for us. I recommend waiting on this project.”

The council apparently agreed with Barker and voted down the bid.

At the end of the meeting, Evanston Police Chief Mike Vranish and Lt. Ken Pearson presented badge awards to each of the council members. Vranish explained that the awards were for the City of Evanston’s 150th Anniversary in 2018, but due to COVID-19 and other unforeseen difficulties, the badges were not completed until recently. 

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