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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:04 p.m. Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) chairs.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) and Ald. Devon Reid are present in the room. Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) is online. Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) is expected to arrive shortly.

Minutes approved.

Public Comment

Nine people signed up to speak.

Carlis Sutton opposes proposed city purchase of boarded up properties at Emerson and Jackson. Calls it stealing from the poor to give developers to the rich. (Tina Paden and Roberta Hudson also speak against that proposal. Hudson says “affordable housing has not worked.” She wants owner-occupied two flats. And Mary Rosinski asks how the price for the purchase was reached — hasn’t seen an appraisal. Betty Ester says residents objected to the height of a prior proposal for the site — wants the area rezoned to R3 from R5.)

Clark McCarthy says he favors the latest version of the commercial vehicle overnight parking plan.

Consent agenda

Off consent A3 and A7. Rest of consent agenda approved.

A3 – Vending machine contract renewal

Audrey Thompson, parks and recreation director, says it’s a one year renewal of an existing contract that was for three years with three additional one-year renewal options.

Thompson says have been no problems with the vendor.

Nieuwsma says hopes at time of contract renewal will work to reduce use of plastic bottles for environmental reasons.

Kelly calls for holding the contract. Wants info about rebates.

Mark Vend co-owner Daniel Stein says his firm was the only bidder when the contract went out out to bid four years ago. Says provides 20% rebate to city at parks sites and between 10% and 20% at other city sites.

After getting answers from Stein she withdraws her motion to hold.

Stein also says the firm eliminated plastic water bottles three months ago and has also reduced the vending of sugary beverages.

A7 – NU participatory budgeting partnership agreement

Reid praises the proposal. (Plan to use $3M in ARPA funds for the project. NU to get $100K for its work on the project.

Approved 4-0-1. Braithwaite abstains (because he’s an NU employee).

A8 – Hiring participatory budgeting staff

$200K for that. Reid says will hire two people — who’ll be doing a lot of work organizing the process. Positions would be temporary (at least for now).

Approved 5-0.

A9 – City purchase of property at 1917-25 Jackson and 1413-25 Emerson

Burns says he’s really excited about this. Says can’t negotiate real estate deals in public. But has said since the campaign that he would love for the city to buy these properties and that he’s met with residents of the area.

Says height and density haven’t yet been discussed. Compares this to process for developing affordable housing on the city’s parking lot #1 on South Boulevard.

Says has been an appraisal done of the property — and the appraisal was for $1.675 million — the price the city is proposing to pay.

Reid says he supports the acquisition. Site control is extremely important, he says, and with city site control the residents will have a voice in what goes on the property. Says he grew up in the house at 1419 Emerson.

Braithwaite says affordable housing is one of the city’s biggest issues. Says there will be a public process to decide what’s built there.

Says the District 65 5th Ward school construction will accelerate the displacement of “people who look like us.”

Kelly says the big question is site control for what? Wants to have it go into a community land trust or an LEC.

Reid says have to have site control before can put the property in a land trust or LEC.

Burns says most city-funded projects have affordability restrictions — that’s par for the course and “I’d support that.”

Kelly wants to guarantee that the money is refunded to the affordable housing fund. Reid says the neighborhood has suffered disinvestment for decades and should have affordable housing funds spent there.

Approved 4-1. Kelly votes no.

A10 – Settlement of Ronald Louden v. City of Evanston

Reid says he plans to vote no. Says case raises some serious concerns regarding use of anonymous criminal informants who are paid by the city. Finds that offensive.

Approved 4-1 Reid votes no.

A11 – Commercial vehicle parking

Nieuwsma says revised plan is to charge $25 versus $200 in the draft in the packet for a permit.

Reid says he wants to make it any vehicle with commercial markings under 8,001 pounds — regardless of what type of plate they have — could get the permit.

Amendment approved. Ordinance approved for introduction

A12 – Resident-only parking (certain 5th Ward blocks)

Approved unanimously (w/o discussion)

A13 – Sale of surplus fleet vehicles

Approved unanimously (w/o discussion)

Discussion items

D1 – Lease extension from MWRD for Canal Shores golf course

City Attorney Nicholas Cummings says WMRD doesn’t want to permit subleasing to a private entity — like the golf course association. But city could hire the golf association to manage the course.

Cummings says goal now is to decide whether there’s interest in extending the lease beyond its current 2032 expiration date to provide assurance of continued golf use beyond the end of the current lease.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) speaks in favor of the proposal — to indicate city’s intention to negotiate an extension of the MWRD lease.

Gets support from all committee members.

D2 – Snow shoveling assistance for senior citizens

Acting Public Works Director Edgar Cano says staff memo outlines extensive cost for the programs.

Reid says he supports the idea of helping seniors — and that it could be shopped out to a youth employment style program. Nieuwsma calls it a “mayor’s winter youth employment program.”

Reid says need to bring the cost down — not make it such an expensive endeavor. Says he’s concerned about possible city tort liability.

Deputy city attorney says it would depend on several factors — but could be possibility of risks.

Reid says could do it for $100,000. Nieuwsma says if do all snowfalls it would be more than $200,000.

Meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.

Planning and Development to start at 6:40 pm.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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