Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

A renovation project for James Park is on tonight's agenda. (Google Maps image).

Here's a recap of our live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items if available online.

Meeting called to order at 6:07 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills

Question raised by Alderman Fleming about bill for legal counsel for Clerk Greene regarding election disputes.

Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says the services were rendered by an independent attorney and submitted for payment by Clerk Greene.

Alderman Rainey says the mantra during the election was that everybody needed to get legal counsel.

Says it would have been good if Greene had told the City Council that he was seeking legal advice. But says thinks it's completely legitimate -- not personal legal advice, but information to share with all the candidates.

Alderman Suffredin asks to hold off until have seen the work product.

Farrar says he's not aware of any ongoing legal representation for the new clerk

Alderman Braithwaite says it's a bill for $3500 -- how do see that this doesn't happen again?

Rainey says it appears to have been election specific to the election and the filings.

Fleming says would like to have clarity about when city is responsible for paying for legal counsel versus when the official has to pay for it him/herself.

Rainey says aldermen are different from the city clerk -- who has a budget from which payment can be made.

Motion approved to hold that item.  Remainder of bills approved.

A 3.1 - Generator evaluation contract $54K. Approved.

A 3.2 - Fleetwood-Jourdain washroom renovation contract $182K. Approved.

A 3.3 - James Park north field renovations contract $930K. Approved. Related story.

A 3.4 - Master agreement for community electricity aggregation.

Dynergy Engergy Services ... three year contract at 7.132 cents per kilowatt hour.

Dave Stoneback, Public Works Agency director, says the prices received are a little higher than current one. But ComEd rate starting in October will be 7.15 cents. That's for just 10 percent renewable. Dynergy will provide 100% renewable.

Stoneback says it looks to be a good deal, and helps city meet its climate action goals.

Four speakers say they support the proposal.

Approved.

A 3.5 - Parking lot engineering contract change order.

Alderman Rainey says the change would permit widening of Callan Avenue to permit parking on both sides of the street. Project had been scheduled for 2018, now hoping to get it done this year, because extra funds are available.

Says the parking shortage is extremely severe on the block.

Alderman Fleming asks how aldermen can be notified when extra money becomes available for such projects.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says this year have had two or three projects that have come in several hundred thousand dollars under budget.

Says there isn't necessarily a process that have in place now how to move something up.

Braithwaite says he's asked to bump up the schedule for improvements on Main Street as well.

Lyons says a couple of years ago with a lot of work being done on freeways in the area bids came in high for projects in Evanston and had to be delayed.

Lyons says the issue is something that could be addressed at a council planning session next Monday

Approved.

A 3.6 - Call One contract renewal. $129K Approved.

A 3.7 - Accela maintanance and support agreement 2 year renewal $89K/year. Approved.

A 3.8 - Purchase of six replacement public works vehicles. $126K + $546K + $330K. Approved.

A 3.9 - Havey Communications emergency lighting and sirens contract. $81K. Approved.

A 3.10 - Sidewalk cafe for Yeero Revolution. Approved.

A 3.11 - Landscaping service assistance -- great merchants grant. Approved.

A 3.12 - First Quarter Financial Report.

Lyons says it looks good this year -- and usually does unless there's heavy snow through the winter.

Property tax receipts -- which come in twice a year -- are the main reason revenue is substantially ahead of expenses at this point in the year.

Report accepted.

A 4 - Emergency structural shoring for service center parking structure. 

Rainey asks for update on condition of the structure.

Stoneback says the only known failure has been temporarily shored. Says wants to evaluate the rest of the building and present a report on that at a future meeting.

Rainey asks whether the problem is "really serious"?

Stoneback says was water coming in from the roof that caused damaged that needed to be immediately shored.

Says some other locations have been identified as "not looking good." Those don't appear to need emergency work.

Wants to do a full assessment before coming to council to say what more needs to be done.

Approved.

A 5 - Parking lease agreement with 2424 Dempster LLC (Kabul House). Approved.

A 6 - Complete and Green network policy.

Fleming asks how the new policy addresses sidewalks?

Katie Knapp, transportation coordinator, say sidewalks will be considered part of the public way, but doesn't specifically address the 50/50 sidewalk program.

Rainey says she's concerned about areas where there are no sidewalks.

 

Stoneback says city engineering staff is formulating a plan to address lack of sidewalks.

Says could require sidewalk replacement -- with 50/50 contribution from homeowners -- when streets are being repaired.

Says will probably be sometime next year before can present that report on where the missing sidewalks are.

Approved.

A 7 - Four-way stop at Woodland Avenue and Jenks Street. Approved.

A 8 - Sale of surplus fleet vehicles. Approved.

A 9 - Regulating small unmanned aircraft (drones). Related stories.

Approved.

Discussion item

APW 1 - Block party applications

Alderman Suffredin says his ward gets the most block party requests. Concerned about how they're approved or rejected.

Stoneback says staff tries to avoid having two consecutive block parties ...and also avoid parties near where NU events are being held.

Currently any one resident on the block can prevent a permit from being issued.

Says the parks department now can bring out a trailer with games to parties -- may want to add that to the application form.

Asks whether committee wants to have staff draft an ordinance.

Suffredin says would like to encourage block parties.

Suffredin says just one resident was able to shut down a block party on his block Alderman Rue Simmons says had a similar problem in her ward.

They suggest changing it to require three objectors to block a party.

Meeting adjourned at 7:21 p.m.

Planning and Development meeting to start at 7:30 p.m.

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