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Recap: City Council

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Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:25 p.m. A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. Alderman Braithwaite, Wilson and Tendam are absent tonight.

Mayor Tisdahl says hopes to have 1,000 summer jobs for young people by next year. (Count is 550 to 600 now.)

Says that should make a big difference in reducing crime problems — because kids who are getting into trouble need jobs to stay out of trouble.

Award winners in this year's summer youth jobs program.

Police Chief Richard Eddington announces promotions of Cmdr. Jody Wright and Sgt. Aaron Wernick. Related story.

Robert Crown fundraising update

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says total now is $1.9 million. Says fundraising effort is on track.

Says many people have stepped up to assist with the fundraising efforts.

Labor Day … trash pickups a day later for the holiday week, as usual

Public Comment

Starts with four kids saying they like the protected bike lane on Dodge Avenue.

Dan Joseph, 1512 Greenwood, says the Dodge bike lane provides a safe path to schools, parks and other destinations. Says that's more important than convenience for motorists.

Nancy Schreenan says she uses the bike lane to commute to her job in Chicago. Appreciates the new bike lane. Says less likely to get "doored" — and if do, will end up on the curb rather than in the traffic lane. Says people who don't like the bike lane are effectively saying that their convenience is more important than her safety.

Alex Block, lives on 500 block of Michigan, says he's supporting Evanston Police and Fire Foundation … which is holding its golf event on Monday, Aug. 22.

Kelly McCabe, lives on corner of Dodge and Lee, says feels left out of Robert Crown project, and how it will impact immediate area.

(Lyons says has been in the "quiet portion" of fundraising — but will be much more public in the future.)

Special orders of business

SP 1 – Budget calendar … proposed budget Oct. 7 … anticipate budget adoption immediately after Thanksgiving.

City Manager Wally Bobkieiwcz says on Thursday, Sept. 22, will do multi-media budget discussion — live on Channel 16 … town halls on Twitter and Facebook at the same time.

Says have had trouble getting people out for meetings in recent years … zero, one and four people showed up.

Brief discussion of council goals … Alderman Holmes suggests adding a goal of addressing violence issues. Mayor agrees.

Alderman Wynne moves approval of budget calendar. Approved.

SP 2 – Second Quarter financial report

Lyons says general fund surplus is $8.1M … but some of that reflects having three payroll periods coming up in two months in the rest of the year — which will reduce the surplus significantly.

Says parking fines are down — fewer people are getting tickets — but parking revenue is up — because with the card swipe option a lot of people are paying for two hours, but only using, say, an hour and 15 minutes.

Says need to rebuild general fund surplus to keep the rating agencies happy. Says should be able to do that this year.

Mayor Tisdahl asks what would get bond rating to Triple-A.

Lyons says are still at Triple-A wiht Fitch, but at AA1 with Moody's.

Says rating agencies are saying need to increase general fund surplus as well as improve pension funding.

SP 3 – Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Dan Berg of Sikich LLP says generally good report.

Says its a "clean opinion" — the best they can provide.

Council accepts report.

Consent agenda

We'll note anything taken off the consent agenda …

  • A 3.6 — North Shore Towing contract — held in committee.
  • A 3.12 — Lakota Group contract for park scorecard project — amended in committee.
  • O 3 – Ward Commuication policy
  • O 4 – City Council compensation
  • O 5 – City Clerk compensation — held till Sept. 12 meeting. (Clerk isn't present tonight.)

With those deletions, consent agenda approved … 6-0.

A 3.6 – Lakota Group contract for park scorecard

In committee amended to review all parks this year, rather than half of them.

Approved.

O 3 – Ward Communication policy

Rainey says she pays $69/mo for cell phone… was cheapest she could find … says minimum aldermen should be reimbursed is $100/mo.

Says actually costs more like $150/mo for cell phone plus internet.

Doesn't get a second.

Rainey says some people can afford what it costs — but others can't.

Original proposal — for $75/month total rembursement for aldermen for communication technology costs — approved 6-0.

O 4 – Aldermanic compensation

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says she wouldn't support the pay increase of 23.1 percent. Says aldermanic should stay in line with city employees compensation increases — especially when state is in such financial difficultieis. Says would support a pay increase that's in line with the cost of living. Says that would be much more equitable — align aldermen with the other people who work for the city

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, says he won't support the increase either — given all the other city priorities.

Rainey moves to hold this issue until Sept. 12 meeting — hoping for a full council present then.

Call of the Wards

Holmes … 5th Ward ice cream social Thursday, 7p at Fleetwood.

Rainey … says thinks need a website for the progress at Robert Crown. Says the kids who spoke at public comment are so short their parents shouldn't be letting them ride on the street.

Fiske … 7p Tuesday, NU/City committee meeting … proposed new dorm at Sherian and Hinman. And on Sept. 6 at 7p at library, 1st Ward meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 9:38 p.m.

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