The wake of COVID-19 left Evanston with a large deficit, which was made up following an increase in property taxes. The burden of generating revenue once again has fallen on struggling Evanstonians. Sebastian's focus when coming into office will be working with the City Manager's office to create new revenue streams that won't hurt residents financially.
During his time working for the city of Evanston, Sebastian saw that some departments were not efficiently using their resources. It is important that Evanston conduct a forensic audit of every department. This re-examination will ensure that funds are being spent in an efficient and equitable manner. Every spending cut must be analyzed to the highest degree to understand the impacts on the community.
Evanston Police Department resources will be reallocated to social services and an alternative emergency system (AES) that will focus on responding to calls that would not warrant a police officer present. Our police reform packet lays out the CAHOOTS alternative emergency system that saved the city of Eugene, Oregon $8.5 million per year on average. That packet can be found here.
Sebastian has emphasized that working with local businesses is the key to economic recovery. He will meet with business owners across Evanston to understand their wants and needs. New businesses will see Evanston's effort to help which will attract new faces that are looking for a place to call home. This will create new economic opportunities without displacement of local businesses and homes.
Most importantly, Evanston needs an Economic Development Plan that can serve as a roadmap for Evanston to follow for decades. We can plan out spending and revenue streams to account for our police reform, climate action, and mixed-income affordable housing plans. It adds a layer of accountability and transparency as public officials must make a commitment to be fiscally responsible while prioritizing residents when alleviating the burden of generating revenue. The following packet lays out Sebastian's plan for holding Northwestern accountable for helping Evanston financially. Generating revenue cannot solely fall on residents and local businesses. Negotiating with Northwestern can help us close our deficit and improve relations between the city and the university.