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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

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Here’s a recap of our live coverage of the Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting at which aldermen are expected to approve the sale of the city’s former recycling center for redevelopment as a rock climbing center.

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

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

The meeting was called to order at 6:06 p.m.

Consent agenda is being read now.

Taken off consent:

Item A 11 – Civic Center office space lease for Evanston Development Cooperative … at request of Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.

Consent agenda approved at 6:15 p.m.

A 11 – Evanston Development Coopeative space lease at Civic Center

Rainey says most rentals are on 1st floor or ground floor. Suggests creates security issue to have this rental on the 3rd floor as requested here.

Assistant City Manager Erika Storlie says there are security concerns throughout the building. Says tenants aren’t allowed access on Sundays and most tenants have limited off hours and night-time hours.

Lease proposal approved unanimously.

A 4 – Chandler-Newberger Center HVAC improvements contract

$362K contract. Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks whether any local contractor could do the job.

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says city always reaches out to local contractors. Often don’t elect to bid. Sometimes insurance and bonding requirements become an issue. Says she’s not sure why they don’t submit bids.

A 5 – Sherman Avenue improvements

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says city went over budget on Fountain Square asks why doing this now?

Dave Stoneback, public works director, says looked at three project areas for Fountain Square. Says this is being funded from the TIF, which has sufficient funds. Says while the initial project went over budget, damages collected from the contractor for the delays mean that it actually ended up costing less than budgeted.

Contract approved.

A 10 – Self-park facilities management contract

Approved.

A 15 – Library parking lot sale amendment

Would give six-month extra time to close the sale.

Public Comment

Jack Weiss, former Design Evanston president, urges denial of the extension. Says developer is struggling to meet financial and other goals for the project.

Urges that a residential project be built there instead.

One other person opposes this proposal. An additional person speaks at length on a completely different proposal

End of public comment.

Extension is approved with no opposing votes.

A 18 – Redevelopment agreement for 2222 Oakton St.

Rainey says she has a ward meeting Jan. 9. So she doesn’t want to have it given final approval tonight, but moves for introduction.

Says Peckish Pig, which had submitted an alternative proposal, is now moving forward with an alternative project in Chicago.

Public Comment

Junad Rizki says the city is giving the property away. Cost more than $4 million to build the recycling center, now selling it for about $1 million.

End of public comment

Approved for introduction

A 19, A 20, A 21 – Change limits on size of liquor containers to be sold.

Alderman Rainey says idea is to level the playing field with Binny’s, which has broader options for sales.

Approved for introduction and action

A 24 – Resident parking only district change

Public Comment

James Larson says he’s in favor of the change — which would make parking rules less restrictive for people in the area.

End of public comment

Approved for introduction

A 25 – Increase in ambulance transport fees

Includes waiver provision for people with financial hardship.

Approved

Discussion

Braithwaite says compliance with MWEBE requirements over the past three years, but fees collected in fines have gone down.

Says some fines haven’t been collected. Says need to review the policy in depth.

Hitesh Desai, CFO, says balance is around $58K in the account. $18K is from before the new financial records system. Now are checking invoices to see if the contractor paid the invoices.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says need to make sure payments to contractors aren’t made until the fines are paid. Wants report to committee on the new procedure to make sure there isn’t any slip-up in the future.

Meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

Planning and Development meeting to begin at 7:05 p.m.

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