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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

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

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

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

One of the items up for review is a $9,000 storefront modernization grant to help the new owners of the Linz and Vail coffee shop at 2012 Central St. rebrand the business as Backlot Coffee.

Meeting called to order at 6:08 p.m.

Public Comment

Owners of 1404 Darrow Avenue contest alley paving assessment. Say they have five units in building there. Says they're getting stuck with 12.5 percent of the total cost.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says the board of local improvements held a hearing. Says the units method used is based on cars involved using the alley. Says does the same thing when there are two or three flat buildings on a block.

Says at the hearing the property owners could have withdrawn their support for the paving project.

Dave Stoneback, public works agency director, says the units method is customarily used for residential properties.

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, says will have staff check into the unit count before final vote on the project in two weeks.

(This relates to agenda item A7 a special assessment for paving the alley north of Greenwood Street and east of Darrow Avenue.)

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Minutes approved.

Payroll and bills approved

A 3.1 – Purchase of three replacement vehicles. Approved.

A 3.2 – Wentworth Tire Service contract. Approved.

A 3.3 – Rausch Infrastructure contract for Isabella Street Bridge Deck project. Approved.

A 3.4 – ESI consultants contract amendment for Isabella bridge project. Approved.

A 3.5 – Special assessment alley improvements. Approved.

A 3.6 – First ank and Trust line of credit renewal. Approved.

A 3.7 – True up fee for general liability and worker's compensation claims. Approved.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says the staff report didn't shed much light — because it didn't show amounts.

Lyons says staff can provide that information.

A 3.8 – Payment to Evanston Cradle to Career … $50K.

Presentation about Cradle to Career.

Rainey asks what's the budget.

Parks Director Hemingway says the city, the two school districts and NU have each committed $50K to the program.

Approved.

A 3.9 – Creation of Robert Crown Community Center Maintenance Fund. 

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, says its a great first step toward planning for maintenance needs in the future.

Approved.

A 3.10 – Sidewalk cafe for Smylie Brothers Brewing Company. Approved.

A 3.11 – Sidewalk cafe for Panera Bread. Approved.

A 3.12 – Sidewalk cafe for Cupitol Coffee & Eatery. Approved.

A 3.13 – Storefront modernizaton grant for 2012 Central St. $9,026.75.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says it's been to concept review at the Design and Project Review Committee. Says the committee preferred a darker color scheme — rather than the white shown in the photo above. Project will go before DAPR again for final review.

Approved.

A 4 – Amendment  to residential solid waste service agreement with Groot.

Rainey asks about overflowing dumpsters. Stoneback says will look into it. Says Groot drivers are supposed to be taking pictures of overflowing dumpsters — to see that additional dumpsters are provided.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks for comparison to show whether number of missed pickups has been reduced.

A 5 – Sculpture easement at 525 Kedzie St.

Miller asks about aesthetics. Muenzer says it's abstract … and red. Muenzer says it was reviewed by Public Arts Council and by Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes the site.

Approved.

A 6 – Special assessment for alley paving north of Reba Place and East of Ridge Avenue. Approved.

A 7 – Special assessment for alley north of Greenwood Street and east of Darrow Avenue. Approved.

A 8 – Special assessment for alley north of Greenwood and east of Dodge Avenue. Approved.

Some discussion about allocation of funds for the projects. Aldermen want more information before final approval in two weeks.

A 9 – General obligation bond issues. $14M in new bonds $8.155M in refunding bonds. Approved.

A 10 – Reduction in liquor license for Thai Sookdee .. not renewing its license. Approved.

Discussion item

APW1 – Taxicab licensing

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Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says issue is whether to follow the decision the city made to rely on state regulation for transportation network providers … and leave regulation of taxicabs to state statute as well.

Rainey says she'd prefer to completely deregulate municipally — have them operate under state regulations.

Should do hands off — just deregulate completely, she says.

Says she's opposed to letting Uber have the senior citizen coupons. Says would be next to impossible to manage — given that Uber charges by credit card.

Says may need to require business licenses for each of the taxi dispatch services.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, wants to know impact of eliminating regulation on city budget.

Farrar says the budget line item is about $30K, and steadily decreasing. Says one city employee devotes about 50 percent of his time to doing inspections of taxis.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, agrees with Rainey about the senior coupons.

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, says he wants to protect the current medallion owners — by not letting outside cab companies come in.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says medallions used to be worth $60K to $70K — now are valued as low as $10K.

Bobkiewicz says the medallion owners don't want to be regulated by the city — but want to be protected against competition.

Rainey says she wants to eliminate duplicative regulation.

Holmes asks how long would protect the medallions? Forever?

Rainey says there's a limit … of 140 medallions.

Farrar says about 100 that have been renewed.

Miller says needs registration … but do it for free.

Bobkiewicz says will have difficulty because cab drivers from elsewhere will come in and operate as Uber or Lyft drivers. So won't realistically be able to maintain monopoly for medallion owners.

Rainey says she's not sure whether should have only Evanston cabs in Evanston.

Bobkiewicz says will put a proposal into writing — share it with the taxi operatiors — trying to give them what they want — says trying to thread the needle and give everybody what they want is not going to be an easy process.

Says will schedule a meeting with the drivers. Probably come back to City Council in July.

Meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee to meet at 7:30 p.m.

 

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