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Council OKs revised EvMark funding

The Evanston City Council this evening approved a revised ordinance that excludes residential property from an expanded special service area taxing district used to support the downtown marketing group EvMark.

The Evanston City Council this evening approved a revised ordinance that excludes residential property from an expanded special service area taxing district used to support the downtown marketing group EvMark.

An earlier version of the ordinance that included residential property had drawn intense opposition from downtown condo owners.

The ordinance would extend EvMark's life for 12 years and increase its budget so it could hire a full-time staff.

Under the original version of the renewal ordinance the tax levy would have raised $475,000, roughly double the group's current budget.

The revised ordinance approved this evening says the tax district, with the residential properties removed, will generate about $370,000 the first year. It also says the city may kick in up to $138,000 from existing downtown tax increment financing districts or other funds approved by the City Council. That could boost the total EvMark budget to $508,000.

EvMark promotes downtown businesses and provides some downtown maintenance and beautification work that the city doesn't cover in its own budget.

A public hearing on the special service area proposal will be held at the Civic Center on April 23.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved a 105-day moratorium on issuing building permits for construction on Green Bay Road from Isabella Street to Lincoln Street. The moratorium was requested by Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward, so that area can be considered in conjunction with the ongoing review of Central Street zoning.
  • Approved establishing a new class of liquor licenses that would permit wine and beer tastings at a cooking school, wine education school or wine education class.
  • Approved a contract with a photography firm to provide new aerial photos of the city for use with the mapping system on the city's web site.

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