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Council tackles towing and taxes

The City Council Monday approved a three-year contract with North Shore Towing of Evanston to tow illegally parked cars on city streets.

North Shore, which has had the towing contract for several years, proposed charging $120 to tow a car, $10 more than the offer from the only other bidder, Protective Parking Services of Chicago, the former Lincoln Towing.

But city staff said they’d found 1,759 complaints to the Illinois Commerce Commission by consumers against Protective since 2000, compared to 49 complaints against North Shore. The lower level of complaints led staff to recommend continued use of North Shore Towing.

Taxes and fees
The council gave preliminary approval to increasing the charge to low-income senior citizens for flat-rate taxicab coupons from $2 to $2.50 and reducing the city’s matching payment to the taxi companies from $3 to $2.50. It the first rate change in the program in over a decade.

The council also gave preliminary approval to increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 32 cents to 50 cents and voted to raise the late-payment penalty for most parking fines.

Skokie Swift
The council approved hiring Cambridge Systematics, Inc. of Chicago to conduct a market analysis of the feasibility of adding stops to the CTA Yellow Line, or Skokie Swift, in Evanston and possibly extending the line in Skokie to Old Orchard Road.
A Regional Transportation Authority grant will cover 70 percent of the $150,000 project’s cost. Evanston and Skokie will split the rest.

Greenwood Lofts
The council gave final approval to plans from 2100 Greenwood Lofts, LLC to turn an abandoned factory at that address into 26 loft-style live-work condominiums.

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