Priority-Based Budgeting

In 2018, the City of Evanston began its annual budget process months earlier than usual because the City is undertaking a priority-based budget process. This process allows staff, City Council, and the community to review all programs and services provided by the City prior to the creation of the 2019 budget. The 2019 Fiscal Year begins on January 1, 2019. 

Staff Process

First, a list of 152 programs and services was created by staff and scored internally against a single set of metrics. A link to the measures and the full list of programs and services with scores from the staff process is posted below. This information was presented to City Council on April 30, 2018.
Staff presented a list of 54 programs for consideration for use in a public survey. Following the April 30 presentation, staff reviewed the programs again and determined that a number should be removed from the survey. They were removed if programs had revenues that more than covered their costs; programs were determined to be required services; programs were double-counted; or programs needed to be split into two categories. Staff then added descriptions and net costs to the survey.

Public Survey

The paper survey was available online from from May 10-June 7, as well as in paper copies at libraries and community centers. Survey results were presented at the June 18 City Council meeting and are available below. 

Survey Questions and Results

Next Steps

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.

Additional Comments

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