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

Meeting called to order at 5:52 p.m.

A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.

Chair Ann Rainey announces that today the birthday of Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, and Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward. And yesterday was the birthday of Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward.

Minutes, bills and payroll approved.

Water Meter purchase contract with Badger Meter of Milwaukee for $20K

HVAC contract with F.E. Moran for improvements at Levy Center and Police/Fire Headquarters. $425K approved.

Bike Plan update $120K, with $100K from a CMAP grant. Approved.

Alley paving contract to Schroeder & Schroeder of Skokie for $498K. Approved.

Grandmother Park Initiative approval of construction of park at 1125 Dewey. Burrus asks why not using low bidder Evanston Community Builders at $101K and instead using Nature’s Perspective at $133K?

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says, looking at the overall results, and with the Grandmother Park group providing the funds for the project, city staff decided to go with the bid preferred by the Grandmother Park group.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says Nature’s Perspective has done a lot of work on the project to date, and she’s confortable with the decision.

Burrus says $50K is coming from the city’s Economic Development Fund and $17K from city CDBG fun ds. Says that should give the city a decision on who’s doing the construction. And, after all the city will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep long-term.

Grover says Nature’s Perspective has done a lot of work to date on the project on a volunteer basis.

Braithwaite says this represents a new form of public-private funding involving the neighobrhood. Says another group of residents is now working to do something similar to upgrade Penny Park.

Burrus says should always be fiscally responsible and doesn’t think this is doing that.

Approved 4-1.

Natural Gas agency agreement for purchase gas for 16 city-owned buildings. Approved.

1223 Simpson St. boiler room apartment lease renewal. No change in rent. Approved.

Electric vehicle charging station parking restrictions. Approved.

Taxicab stand to passenger loading zone at 1702 Sherman Ave. and creating new cab stand in 1600 block of Oak Avenue. Parking Manager Rickey Voss says new restaurants going in on Oak will make it desirable for cab companies. Music Institute going it at 1702 Sherman needs the passenger loading zone. Approved.

Resident-only parking restrictions on Custer from Howard to the CTA Yellow Line tracks.

Hurd Avenue two-hour parking restrictions. Approved.

Real Estate Transfer Tax amending who’s obligated to pay. Closing loophole for people acquiring property by foreclosing on a mortgage. City Clerk Rodney Greene says haven’t lost any revenue so far but want to make language clear. Approved.

Discussion item — Water and Sewer Fund

Dave Stoneback, utilities director, says sale of water in Evanston has been decreasing.

Says more people are using water conservation devices. Says it’s great for the grandchildren, but not so great for meeting the budget today. Says water sales are down across te country.

Average single family home pays $454 a year for sewer service.

Says 60 percent of sewer fund expense is payment on long-term debt for sewer improvements over the past couple of decades.

Says 7.2 miles of large diameter combined swers are over 100 years old and are gradually being lined to rehab them. More than half are expected to be done by 2017.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asks what sewers have been fixed already. Stoneback says ones done so far have been smaller — less than 36 inches in diameter.

Average single family home pays $192 a year for water service.

Says water fund operating expenses are expected to increase dramatically over then next few years — from about $20M this year to almost $45M by 2016.

Says much of that increase is because of failure of water reservoir on NU parking lot off Lincoln Street.

Says a new, larger reservoir, say 14 million gallon capacity, could cost as much as $26 million.

Says the city has 51 miles of water maines that are over 100 years old … and a 30 inch feeder main is almost 80 years old. It’s had three leaks recently — but all during the day and were caught quickly — if one happens overnight, could be a much bigger problem.

Says normally spend $6M to $7M for water fund capital improvements — but they are expected to rise to as much as $28M by 2016, before again falling.

So, he’s recommending a series of water rate increases — 10 percent in each of the next three years.

That would raise the average annual water cost from $192 this year to $255 by 2016.

If combine water and sewer charges — the increase would be 3 percent a year each year … from $645 this year to $709 in 2016.

Says combined water and sewer rates in Evanston are in the middle of the pack for similar communities.

Says aging water plant infrstructure and equipment means will need to slowly increase the water rate to become self-sufficient over then next 20 years.

Says adding new wholesale customers could reduce borrowing needs.

But expansion to double water plant capaicity to serve all the communities now discussing with could cost $230 million.

Braithwaite says could provide opportunity for job training and good jobs for local residents.

Discussion: Civic Center Lease Northwest Center Against Sexual Abuse is seeking free lease of space in Civic Center. Aldermen say they’d be happy to have them .. .but not willing to provide free rent.

Meeting adjourned 7:12 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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