Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee


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

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

The committee has a full agenda tonight with items ranging from next steps on a new Robert Crown Center through new trash hauling rates. It’s also scheduled to get an update on plans to renovate the main library and to vote on new water rates to charge Skokie.

Public comment

Kevin Brown, the city’s youth and young adult program manager, says he’s concerned about the city’s proposed ex-offender hiring policy — says it would prevent hiring of people now working in his unit. Says it would feed into the notion of “perpetual punishment.”

Sarah Vanderwicken also criticizes the ex-offender hiring policy — saying it’s too restrictive. Says it may violate EEOC regulations.

Bobby Burns says 90 percent of people probably have done something criminal — most of them just didn’t get caught. Says city should get behind folks who have made mistakes and help them get on with their lives and make something of theselves.

End of public comment

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggests the ex=offender policy appears to be dead-on-arrival and should go back to staff to be worked on.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says she agrees should be pulled off the agenda. Suggests appointment of subcommittee to address it.

Payroll and bills


A 3.1 – Purchase of two Genetic licens plate recognition systems.


A 3.2 – Body worn camera system, etc.

Deputy Chief Jay Parrott says the system will include 120 body cameras, 45 car cameras, interview room cameras and new tasers that turn on the body camera when they’re pulled from their holster. Related story.


A 3.3 – Single audit for FY 2016

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says the audit of federal program funds was a clean report.

Approved to place on file

A 3.4 – A 3.7 Robert Crown issues

After brief discussion, decision is to move the items onto full City Council without a recommendation.

A 3.8 – Terminate Smithereen pest management services contract.

Evonda Thomas-Smith says Smithereen doesn’t have the capacity to fulfill the contract terms.

Rainey says it’s a good example of the lowest bidder not always being the best choice. Says previous vendor, Rose, had a good track record. Says city has a serious problem with rats, needs to be addressed immediately. Suggests rehiring them for the remainder of the year.

Rainey’s recommendation approved.

A 3.9 – Fountain Square renovation project change order.

Extends completion time because of delays in receiving some materials for the project.


A 3.10 – Stump removal contract with Alvarez, Inc.


A 3.11 to A 3.13 – Groot and Lakeshore contracts

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback said one of the vendors qualified their proposal on Friday. Says wants to postpone action on the contracts until after he’s had time to discuss the issue with the city’s corporation counsel.

A 3.14 – Solid Waste fund analysis

Stoneback says it appears that providing the recycling service in house is lest costly than contracting it out.

Rainey says she asked today based on total increase for all users for all services. Told it was about $460K. She says sanitation is something everybody in the city has to embrace. Says putting the cost on the tax bill — that would be infintessimal on the tax bill — Claims on the water bill it would be very regressive. 

Says in some cases it would be $30.

Braithwaite says he favors a blend of some property tax increase and some trash rate increase.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says staff can put together a further analysis.

Presentation on this issue

Issue is held until Oct. 9 meeting.

A 4 – Litigation settlement

Approved 3-1. Rainey votes no. Related story.

A 5 – PharmaCann LLC lease amendment


A 6 – Northwest Center Against Sexual Abuse

Lease of office space at Civic Center. Approved.

A 7 – “Police Powers” amendment

No longer let aldermen and other elected officials make arrests.

Give only police make arrests.

(But aldermen can still carry guns, if they have proper training.)

Approved. (Rainey complains — perhaps joking — that “we’re being stripped of all these powers.”_

A 8 – New wholesale water rate for Skokie.


A 9 – Three-ways stop at Simpson and Dodge.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says kids cross to Twiggs Park at this intersection, also a lot of other pedestrian traffic.

Approved for introduction and action tonight.

A 10 – Permit parking on south side of Central Street on the bridge

Approved for introduction and action tonight.

A 11 – Recycling fee for 6-unit and larger apartment buidings


A 12 – Sale of 2005 Grey Avenue to ETHS for affordable housing


Discussion items

APW 1 – Ex-offender hiring … postponed.

APW 2 – Residency … postponed.

APW 3 – Water shut-off for non-payment



APW 4 – Library capital improvement plan

City manager says plan to hold this until a later meeting because of other business.

Says discussion needs to be had about limited resources for capital projects citywide.

Says it’s an issue the council will have to consider for 2018 and in future years — balancing capital investments with debt concerns.

Says library is ready to go. Council needs to have a discussion about capital needs throughout the city.

Braithwaite asks whether library will have public meeting between now and next council meeting on the subject.

Karen Danzak Lyons says current library was built and designed 23 years ago. Can’t meet current demands with existing facility.

Says the proposed plan turns back office space into public space, improves technology, creates computer lab.

Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.



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