Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting. The Council is expected to name an interim city manager and act on proposals designed to provide reparations to the city’s black residents.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.
Meeting called to order at 8:12 p.m.
Mayor Steve Hagerty notes the redlining exhibit in the second floor hallway at the Civic Center. Here until Oct. 20.
Notes ‘Kits ‘Cats and Kids pep rally event Thursday evening at Fountain Square.
Hagerty says the city code and councl rules have a conflict about whether the mayor has a vote in selecting the new manager. That’s to be addressed at the next Rules Committee meeting.
35 people signed up … so each has 1:15 .. .to stay within 45 minutes total for pubic comment.
Time now is 8:25 p.m.
Public comment ends 9:24 p.m.
Special orders of business
SP3 – Reparations proposals
Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, thanks more than 100 residents who’ve participated in the reparations discussion.
Says have done a lot in Evanston to acknowledge discrimination, oppression and racism. Says have had a lot of honorific actions that have been appreciated, but it’s not been enough.
Says racial wealth gap continues and the black residency rate continues to drop, and community should not shy away from this.
Says have has been targeted damage to black neighborhoods and need to have budget allocated to uplift black residents specifically.
Says great work is already happening in the city — will make that available at the ward meeting Wednesday — some programs are already in place.
Suggests pushing homeownership and entrepreneurship programs. Urges spending of $10M over 10 years.
Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says she supports the proposal.
Notes that the City Council didn’t make the deicison to close Foster School — that was a decision of the school board.
And there was a referendum to open the school again — and that didn’t pass.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says city spends $1.6 million on the youth and young adult department. Says $1 million a year is not unrealistic.
Notes several graduates of the city’s Sunshing Entrprises entrepreneur program who’ve been successful.
Also notes facade improvement grants to businesses at Church and Dodge.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says predatory lending and other subversive things continue to go on in the community.
Rue Simmons suggests forming a City Council committee to develop specific proposals, with the support of the city’s legal staff.
Says also needs a deadline for it. Says she had a goal that should get something passed in this calendar year.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says can’t do it alone. Can’t make reparations for peopwl who’ve wanted to own homes, repair their homes, etc.
Says one of the biggest problems for all races is redlining by banks and others based on wealth and lack of wealth.
Says even people with very good incomes are having a lot of difficulty getting mortgages.
Says need to divide this up and include the banks and lenders in this — they have to participate with us because that’s where the money is — not here (in the citiy).
Says we’re asking to raise the local sales tax because we don’t have enough money
Says don’t know how many other communities are taking on the burden of reparations by themselves.
Rue Simmons says, “I don’t disagree.”
Fleming says city has lots of money in the back and so it has lots of leverage with the banks.
Rue Simmons moves to have City Council subcommittee follow up on the report with staffing from legal department.
On subcommittee … Rue Simmons, Rainey, Fleming.
SP4 – Truth and reconciliation initiative
Fleming objects to “reconciliation” term.
Chief Equity Officer Pat Efiom says not ready for “reconciliation” yet. Calling it “truth and seeking racial equity” initiative. But it’s just a working title for now.
Says the public-facing part is the work of the Equity and Empowerment Commission. Says her office will work on internal, staffing work, like revising job descriptions to eliminate unnecessary qualifications..
SP1 – City manager hiring process
Moved by Rainey.
Mayor says this isn’t the job description for city manager, it just starts the RFP for hiring a search firm.
Rainey says will have opportunity to review the responses from the search firms.
Responses expected by Sept. 23, or if not then, by Oct. 14
SP2 – Appointing an interim city manager
Erike Storlie as the new manager.
Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, asks who made the decision to recommend Erika.
Mayor says it’s his recommendation.
Says doesn’t make sense to bring someone in from the outside
Suffredin asks why need to make this decision tonight.
Mayor says the decision on contract terms would be done in executive session.
Says for transition purposes need to start as soon as possible.
“Seems backwards to me,” Suffredin says.
Wilson says should let the community know who we’re negotiating with. Moves amending resolution to be appointed “subject to execution of a contract agreement.”
Amendment approved unanimously.
Fleming says we don’t usually do personnel matters in public session. Says wasn’t time for a executive session discussion ahead of the mayor’s recommendation.
Resolution as amended unanimously.
Braithwaite reads A&PW consent agenda items.
A 3.1 and A 3.2 off consent (Amazon credit card activity).
A18 off consent… referred to executive session of council.
A24 off consent … sales tax hike … at request of Suffredin
Rue Simmons reads P&D and appointemtns
P1 – removed from consent at request of Fleming
Consent agenda approved.
A3.1 and A3.2 approved. Suffredin abstains.
A 24 – Home rule sales tax hike by 0.25 percent
Approved for introduction 7-2. Fiske and Suffredin vote no.
P1 – Tenant-based rental assistance program renewal
Fleming questions criteria that she says may limit access to the program to people who are actually homeless.
Sarah Flax, housing and grants administrator, says federal HOME program requires that lease be in tenant’s name — so not and option for the city to waive that.
Says Connections works very closely with school social workers, can check into that further.
Says is need to have people who are able to become self sufficient within the two year term of the program.
Call of the Wards
Braithwaite … Thursday 7p D65 admin bldg ward meeting.
Rue Simmons … ward meeting Wednesday 7 p.m. G300 Civic Center
Rainey says should exclude condo deconversions from inclusionary housing ordinance … refers that to P&D
Fleming … makes referral to Rules Committee regarding what committees can have non-residents (like local business owners.
Mayor says there’s a City Council meeting next Monday … cannabis, city facility assessments and an update on Robert Crown Center.
Council votes to go into executive session.
Public meeting ends at 10;45 p.m.