City staff says Evanston is adding electrical vehicles to its fleet faster than it can afford to add charging capacity at major city facilities.

City Engineer Lara Biggs told the Environment Board Thursday night that the electrical equipment at several facilities, including the service center at 2020 Asbury Ave., is at the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced before additional loads are added to it.

The city last month added 12 new electric vehicles to its fleet.

Just upgrading the electrical system at the service center, Biggs said, is likely to cost $3 million to $5 million.

In addition to the service center, large numbers of vehicles are assigned to the water treatment plant, the civic center and police fire headquarters.

Biggs says it could take five to eight years to complete electrical upgrades at all four of those buildings.

And the City Council has been evaluating whether it should possibly replace the last two of those buildings.

Despite that issue, Biggs says 86% of the 121 capital projects proposed for 2024 align with at least one goal of the Climate Action and Resilience Plan the city adopted in 2018.

In dollar terms, $103 million of the $111 million in proposed projects have a CARP component, according to a list included in the meeting packet.

The total capital spending proposal is expected to be trimmed somewhat as the City Council reviews the proposed 2024 budget in October and November.

The full proposed city budget won’t be released by the city manager until early next month.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), who is a member of the Environment Board, said he was happy to see how much of the proposed capital budget will advance the city’s climate goals.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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