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

Newly promoted Evanston Police Department sergeants — Dennis Leaks, Tony Correa, Gil Levy and Elizabeth Glenn — introduced at the City Council meeting.

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

The meeting is scheduled to start around 8:10 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight’s agend items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 8:15 p.m.

Mayor’s announcements

  • Warren Cherry scholarship fund 20th anniversary day on 8/17/13.

City manager’s announcements

Mark Munzer, new director of community development.

Police Chief Richard Eddington introduces several promoted officers.

CommUNITY picnic coming up later this month.

Parks Director Doug Gaynor honored on his retirement.

Town Board Meeting

City Clerk Rodney Greene says as meeting of town board, rather than an annual township meetingm there’s no need to elect a moderator and the mayor will chair the meeting.

Public Comment

Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson objects to proposed elimination of cost of living increase for her staff (in budget proposed by city manager for approval tonight).

Says she opposed dissolution of the township. Wants input on language for referendum — says should provide for preservation of the work currently done by the assessor’s office. Also asks that her staff be absorbed into the city’s staff if the referendum is approved.

Junad Rizki says he doesn’t think abolishing the township will save any money.

Betty Ester says Human Services Committee only approved extending last year’s budget through September — concerned that tonight’s proposal calls for extending that budget through December.

Objects to having city manager deal with township business.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says town board has asked him in the past to advise them on town budget. Says proposed budget would level-fund the township at last year’s level.

Says city staff would then work with township staff on preparing at 2014 budget on a calendar year basis.

Trustee Ann Rainey suggests that a town board member rather than the city manager should introduce the budget ordinance.

Says one employee has left who was making $70K or $80K a year — what’s happening to that fund.

Bobkiewicz says the town board has traditionally adopted just a dollar amount — could provide additional direction to the town officials if want.

Rainey says also won’t be paying about $9K in rent starting in September.

Says those are pretty large numbers — need to have at least reductions in those two lines.

Says feels like a trustee without a township, because has no idea what’s going on.

Supervisor Gary Gaspard says plans to hire case workers at $35K. Have had only one working — with more than 150 clients to manage.

Gaspard says he’s happy to be working with the city manager “so we don’t have another meeting like last week.”

Trustee Delores Holmes says will have a more detailed budget in time for the next Human Services Committee meeting on Sept. 16.

Gaspard plans to hire a manager, rather than an executive director, to run the day-to-day operations of the township.

Trustee Jane Grover moves introduction of the budget.

Rainey asks for budget in electronic editable form. Holmes asks for detail on staff assignments.

Budget approved unanimously.

Township board meeting adjourned … City Council meeting resumes.

Citizen comment

Joey Conway, 535 Custer, says 70 seniors have vacated the North Shore Hotel since the new owners took over because of increasing prices.

City Clerk Rodney Greene says should be “safe zone” for every school in Evanston — not just ETHS.

Sue Carlson, 2679 Stewart, supports requiring affordable housing at North Shore Hotel. Says it has provided housing for people with incomes of $30K to $50K a year. Says no other options for them. Says will throw out a large proportion of our long-time residents.

Says there are large discrepancies in pricing information provided by the new owners.

Eric Witherspoon, ETHS Superintendent, says he’s glad that his board meetings are usually over by this time (and gets chuckles). Urges support for “Safe School Zone” proposal for the high school.

Says have problems with people up to no good standing across the street from the school. Says on days when see trouble brewing, if had the ability to say to folks — hey, you’re in a safe school zone, you need to move along — it would be a great help.

Says school board has had a lot of public discussion of the issue.

Carlis Sutton, 1821 Darrow Ave., opposes safe school zone. Says shows continuous disregard for residents of the 2nd and 5th wards.

Says need to show sympathy and empathy for the people who pay taxes in the community.

Betty Ester, 2031 Church St., across from high school. Says the safe school zone is a racial issue. Says if you pass it we’ll be going to court.

Madelyn Ducre says if council can spend time on how many chickens people can have in their yards — should be able to give more consideration for the preople in the neighborhoods.

Bridget Giles, 1702 Church, says her hair salon will be hurt if the safety zone is implemented — will have more police in front of shop — doesn’t look good. Says she hasn’t heard anything from the school.

Public Comment ends

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asks for definition of how people would be affected by the safe school zone.

Assistant City Attorney Michelle Masoncup says the safe school zone would extend to the public sidewalk across the stree from the high school Says it does not include private property.

Says person has to be notified in writing by school administration before someone could be arrested.

Says school zone would require that people “move on” or risk arrest.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says thinks everybody is trying to reach the same goal.

Says state statute doesn’t do any favors in terms of the way it’s drafted.

Says as he reads the statute it doesn’t appear the street is included in the language of the statute — and that the statute appears to not cover the sidewalk across the street from the school.

Says concealed carry and elimination of handgun bans have made it harder to keep the schools safe.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says wants to renegotiate the provisions. Says should have a sunset clause. Says no one went to residnets and businesses — just a courtesy thing, somebody should have spoken to them.

Holmes moves to hold the proposal until can come up with a better plan.

Motion to hold carries 6-3. Grover, Rainey and Burrus vote no.

Rainey complains that motion to hold completely cuts off discussion until next council meeting in a month.

Nobody wants Mrs. Giles customers arrested, Rainey says, and Wilson brought up some good questions, she says.

Holmes says concerned that have a high school that happens to sit in a low income community and we’re trying to make other people feel comfortable. Says worked hard to accomplish it — but that this just doesn’t accomplish it.

How can tell people that they can’t can’t walk out onto a public sidewalk in front of their house.

Braithwaite says would have been incredibly irresponsible to introduce this without giving public an opportunity to discuss it.

Second quarter financial report

Bobkiewicz says are at 50.5% of revenue at half-way point of the year. Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says that are in very good shape on revenue.

Bobkiewicz says have been carefully managing expenditures — police a bit higher, but feels that’s appropriate, given need to fight crime. 

“Nothing surprising going on in our enterprise funds,” Lyons says.

Lyons says barring any surprises — like snow all thorugh Nov. and Dec., — expect to come in with a very solid budget.

Bobkiewicz says wants to talk about a downtown arts proposal and other issues Sept. 16.

Outlines budget preparation schedule for rest of year.

Wants to put council on a bus on a Saturday morning this fall to tour the city’s capital needs. Invite the public and press.

Consent agenda

Items off consent agenda:

  • Bike share grant application
  • The safe school zone … already held.

Consent agenda approved.

Bike share program … have different map, Bobkiewicz says, made changes to add a location at the south end of town … either Howard and Chicago or near St. Francis … and one near Greenleaf and Chicago … and move one proposed for Dempster beach to the Fleetwood Jourdain Center.

Says increases the number of stations from seven to eight

Wilson has left, but Bobkiewicz says  Wilson was concerned about the cost of the program.

Bike share program grant application approved as amendment.

Howard-Hartrey TIF amendment ordinance approved.

Indoor recreation facility 2025 Dempster approved.

Planned development 1611-1629 Chicago Ave. North Shore Residence.

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, says he’s now concerned about steep rental increases proposed.

Says now supports proposal for a 10 percent rental housing set aside in the program.

Burrus seconds.

Jeff Michael of Horizon Realty Group, owners and developers of North Shore Residence.

Says stories been told are not accurate.

Says website rates were from the previous owners — hasn’t yet had chance to review it. Can take the site down.

Says there will be increases — its a huge undertaking –the building is in dire need of renovations.

Says comparable rates for seniors — we fall right in the middle of the pack — if compare with four other life-care facilities. The others are all “buy-in” facilities that make residents pay $100K or more up front.

Says not comparable to other senior housing facilities — because North Shore provides food, housekeeping, TV cable, interet

Says average rent be $2,075 a month plus $400 to $600 for a meal plan. Says that includes all-in costs.

Tendam says Mather and Presbyterian Home are more upscale. Says need for affordable housing is great — doesn’t want to see current residents move out.

Michael — says has been a bargain — but prior owners in 2011 had a $600K operating loss.

Says it’s a tight, risky deal. If are other restrictions will have to start all over in planning for it.

Braithwaite says our challenge will be finding affordable senior housing over the next couple years. Says senior ombudsman has indicated that have received calls from 10 to 20 people saying they’ll have to move.

Michael – the planned development is for the new development. Renovation already underway in the existing building and that will drive the rents up because it has to be paid for.

Rainey says she believes it is an affordable opportunity. It’s also not low income housing.

A lot of people are in the middle — can’t afford the Mather and would not qualify for low income housing.

Says given conditions of the property — it needs work badly.

Says doesn’t understand why we don’t ask Trader Joe’s to reduce the cost of food 10 percent to anybody who is a senior.

Says we don’t say to Walgreens before you build the fancy building on Chicago Avenue that you have to give people a price break.

Says to hold them hostage for this 10 percent is really overstepping our bounds.

“I know people need help,” Rainey says, “but I just don’t think we have the right to impose this on this developer and I think we need to assure that this project gets done.”

Fiske says there were proposals over the past few years to put in student housing or other alternatives that would have forced everybody in the building out of there.

Says getting the building fixed up is going to require that rents don’t stay the same.

Says keeping the building the way it is isn’t going to work over time.

Says wishes everyone could stay, but in reality that can’t happen.

“If we’re going to have an affordable set-aside,” Fiske says, “we should tell you before you buy the property. To spring that on you late in the day is not fair,” she says.

“We are doing this project to save that place,” Michael says.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl says she had a concern with residents of the North Shore who’ve told her they’ve been forced to move out..

Michael says he hasn’t raised any rents on existing residents yet.

Alderman Holmes says she thinks they can set aside 10 percent. Doesn’t understand how that would stop the project.

Michael says bank won’t approve financing for the project if there’s an affordable housing set aside.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says it seems are going to 185 affordable housing units for seniors to 205 less-affordable units.

Fiske says will hold you to commitments to residents and retaining the residents who are there.

Says in long term city has to look at affordable housing solutions for seniors.

Motion passes 5-3. Grover, Holmes and Tendam vote no.

Call of the wards

Rainey asks for Rules Committee to review meeting schedule. Says wrong that start business at 10 p.m. Other communities don’t do it this way, she says. We’ve been here since 5:30 p.m., she says. Need to get the business done earlier.

Neigbhorhood meeting Aug. 27, 7 p.m. at Levy Center re Autobarn proposal for 222 Hartrey location.

Fiske … Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. at library …ward meeting.

Braithwaite .. ward meeting Thursday, Sept. 12, at D65 HQ.

Holmes …5th Ward meeting Thursday … ice cream social …

Grover … asks city manager to arrange for discussion of safe school issue hosted by the city-school liaison committee before the Sept. 9 city council meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. These safe school zone public comments are downright crazy

    As a black resident of the 5th ward I would hope that the majority of the city does not think these few citizens opposing the school safe zone speak for all those in the 5th and 2nd wards. Not one of them have a legitimate reason to oppose the expanded zoning as it will in no way affect their day to day life. And in regards to Ms. Giles and her beauty shop, not having the people moved along by police that are loitering outside of your shop “doesn't look good" nor does it make it inviting for customers and I hate to break it to Ms. Giles but there is already an increased police presence in the area surrounding ETHS due to the high instances of criminal activity So for all those against this safe school zone please stop complaining as it's getting tiresome and put your efforts into doing something to help improve the area.

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