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Priority-based Budget Survey Available Online and in Print

Post Date:05/10/2018 2:00 PM

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The City of Evanston is asking community members to provide their input on City programs and services for the 2019 fiscal year by completing a Priority-based Budget survey. The survey, which asks community members to rank 46 programs and services, is available online at Printed copies will be available at Evanston Public Library locations and community centers on Friday, May 11. The survey deadline is Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Residents can provide input in person at an Open House on Priority-based Budgeting on Thursday, May 24 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Morton Civic Center, Room G300 (ground floor), 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston. During this event, staff will make a short presentation on priority-based budgeting at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 p.m. The 4 p.m. presentation will be streamed live on the City's Facebook page. Between presentations, staff will be available to answer questions about the process and specific programs. Residents may complete the survey at the event.

In addition, budget-related ideas may be submitted to City staff through the following channels:
Mail: City Manager’s Office, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201
Calling or texting: 847-448-4311
Facebook: or

A priority-based budget process allows staff, City Council and the community to review all City programs and services prior to creating the budget. The first step was to itemize the 152 programs and services offered by the City. A budget team with representatives from all City departments then reviewed and scored all programs and services against a single set of metrics, including whether or not the program or service was mandated by law or generated revenue.

On April 30, the Evanston City Council was presented with a list of 54 programs suggested for inclusion in a public outreach survey. Following feedback, the budget team then researched each program and calculated its net cost, which is the difference between program expenses and any revenues it generates. Some items were removed from the list because revenues more than covered costs and some programs were determined to be required services. In order to maintain approximately 50 programs for consideration in the survey, some programs that were not previously included on the initial list were then added to the process.

The scoring guidelines and a link to the full program list is available at 2019BudgetProcess.

The priority based budgeting review is only the FIRST step in the annual budget process. Staff will return to City Council on June 18 with the results of this community survey and seek additional direction from the City Council. Additional review will be done by City staff and a next check in with the City Council will occur July 30.  Included in this additional review will be a careful examination of each program or service proposed to be reduced to evaluate any equity issues of the proposal.  Another round of community input will occur in September prior to the release of the City Manager’s Proposed 2019 Budget on October 6. The City Council will then conduct a public hearing on the budget and take other resident input through October and November, before the budget is adopted in late November.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, you may dial 311 directly while in Evanston.

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