Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

Meeting called to order at 5:48 p.m.

Minutes approved. Payroll approved. Bills approved.

Tallmadge street light poles. Purchase of 10 for $27.3K. Approved.

Sewer rehab contract. Insituform Technologies $3M. Approved.

Sewer structure lining contract. National Power Rodding $79K. Approved

Three security doors for water utility. G.A. Johnson & Son. $95K. Approved.

Martial arts instruction. Connelly’s Academy. $30K. Approved.

Compact pay and display parking terminals. Four for $51K. Aldeman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says doesn’t like them when it’s raining. Awkward to use. Need to be really close together. Suggests the individual parking meters that take credit cards are better.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says will consider that as the city looks to replace more traditional meters going forward.

Purchase approved.

Street resurfacing $289K to A. Lamp Concrete Contractors. Approved.

Central Street emergency water main replacement. Contract to Glenbrook Excavating for $1.56M. Approved.

Church Street improvement contract change order … adding $276K to do streetscape work on two blocks of Central Street from Lincolnwood to Ewing. Rainey asks why the money is coming from the Economic Development Fund. Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says it didn’t go to the Economic Development Committee for approval, but it was part of budget amendments approved by the City Council in July.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the funding could be shifted to the capital improvement fund.

Rainey suggests doing that.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, says proposals like this should go to the Economic Development Committee in the future.

Rainey moves to amend the proposal to take the money from the capital improvement fund. Burrus seconds. Vote 4-1. Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, votes no. Says she’d like to know more about the funding proposal first.

Police and Fire  Pension Actuarial Report

Actuary Arthur Tepfer says difficult to look at 7 percent as an appropriate interest rate assumption, in response to question from Alderman Burrus who says the rate over the past three years has actually be 3.3 percent.

Tepfer says if the gain or loss is within thee percent of what was expected, that indicates the program is on track. He says for the past year the variation was less than one percent for each fund. Says that’s encouraging.

Says 7 percent isn’t as reasonable as it looked five years ago, but in aggregate, the funds seem to be performing appropriately.

Says what he’s concerned about is that the police fund is paying out $8.7 million and the fire fund is paying out $7.2 million. 

In police 20 percent are eligible to retire in the next two years and 27 percent of firefighters are eligible to retire in the next two years.

Says that shows we’ll see a substantial increase in payouts soon.

Rainey says city has 174 retired police receiving pensions and only 163 active duty officers.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says recent pension reform will shift that a bit, by increasing minimum retirement age from 50 to 55 for new hires.

Tepfer says the recommended contribution amount is designed to keep the contributions level and not pass the cost off to children and grandchildren.

He says the statutory minimum contribution would require increasing payments over time by design.

In response to question from Rainey, Lyons says the pension contributions, totalling roughly $14 million make up about a third of the total property tax levy of $44 million.

Lyons says is desire to get to 50 percent funded within three to five years.

Tepfer says all depends on what the investment return is on the money. It’s a moving target, he says. The legislature has the ability to change the target at any time. The current target is 90 percent funded by 2040.  Had been 100 percent funded by 2033.

Rainey moves accepting report and the actuary’s recommended contribution. Approved unanimously.

Firefighters union contract. Approved. Rainey says committee really appreciates the negotiations and the settlement

AFSCME contract. Approved.

Isabella Street agreement with Wilmette. Rainey says the agreement will benefit both communities. Grover says the street desperately needs repaving. Approved.

Erie Family Health Center office space lease in Civic Center. Approved.

Sump pump ordinance. Removed from agenda

Compensation Committee recommendations. Rainey says it’s the chintziest increase that could possibly be given. Says for aldermen it works out to $4 a week. Says this council works as hard as any council she’s seen.

Says there are bills that all the aldermen have that are very difficult to cover on the pay. Says would like to see more expenses reimbursed. If were to decide later to subsidize cell phones, could do that, she asks?

Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says reimbursement is not considered compensation under city and state rules. Says expenses would be a separate discussion.

Says it’s up to individual council members whether they take the medical benefits available to aldermen.

Holmes says it’s not a part time job. Grover says on a “good week” its 30 to 35 hours. Says the expectation is more like a Chicago alderman — being available and on the job all the time. It’s a funny hybrid between that and what the expectation for a village board would be.

Burrus should learn what the compensation for a Chicago alderman is. Says compensation committee did a comparison for Skokie and Lincolnwood.

Grover says that at the same time she’s not even comfortable getting a two percent raise.

Rainey says ‘”we are not being compensated fairly for the work we do.”

Commitee approves 2 percent raises for aldermen, city clerk, mayor, township assessor and township supervisor.

Sale of property at 1600 Foster Street .. for Emerson Square development … part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant.

Rainey asks what’s the total cost of the project.

David Brint, of Brinshore, the city’s partner on the NSP2 grant, says the Emerson Square project will cost about $13M … of which $2M is from NSP. Rest coming from other sources.

Four ordinances involved in the sale all approved.

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting will start at 7:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. chintziestness

    “Compensation Committee recommendations. Rainey says it's the chintziest increase that could be possibely given. Says for aldermen it works out to $4 a week. Says this council works as hard as any council she's seen.

    Rainey says '"we are not being compensated fairly for the work we do."”

    The chintziest increase in the city? Non-union employees received no pay increase and continue to take furlough days. I know a long-term union employee who received a 4.6% pay increase in 2012 (2.5% cola, 1% longevity for more then 25 years of service, and 1.1% for not having to take furlough days). A long-term, non-union employee that he works next to got no increase.

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