The City of Evanston offered a new tool this year for feedback on the 2019 General Fund Proposed Budget. This tool, Balancing Act, allows you to submit your plan for a balanced budget by making changes to revenues and expenses.
Results were collected from October 5-25, 2018, with preliminary results shared on Friday, October 26, 2018.
A series of Community Budget Meetings with the City Manager and staff will be held from October 9-24, during which community members are invited to explore Balancing Act with the assistance of City staff members.
The budget begins with a "baseline" deficit of $7.4 million. This deficit includes $1 million in debt service costs for the new Robert Crown Center, and $1.5 million to bring General Fund Reserves in line with the City's fund balance policy of 16.6% of expenses by 2021.
To submit, you’ll need to bring the budget into balance. You cannot submit a deficit budget.
The column on the left shows General Fund revenues, while the column on the right shows expenses. The circle diagram at the top shows how money is spent. Clicking the white arrow in the grey circle to the right of each category will open subcategories where you can make adjustments.
To learn more about each subcategory, click on the blue ”i” icon.
As you review the categories of revenues and expenses, you can make adjustments by answering questions and by selecting the green “+” and red “-“ buttons, as shown in the examples below. Adjustments will appear in the math in the right of the box – green font for an increase in a revenue or expense, red font for a decrease. To reset to the original budget for that category, click the grey "reset" button.
To make comments on any category; click the orange "Comment" button, type your comment and click "Save." Your comments will be included with your solution.
The indicator at the top of the screen tells you how much money you need to adjust to get in balance. Continue to make changes to revenues and expenses until you reach a balanced budget or a surplus. Remember, you cannot submit a deficit budget. After you reach a surplus, the indicator will turn green.
If at any point you would like to reset all adjustments and start over from the beginning, click "Reset All" under the submit button. Click "Submit" at the bottom right to send your final plan
After you click “Submit,” a final screen will pop up with demographic questions and an opportunity for you to make general comments on the budget and process.