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

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 5:06 p.m. Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) chairs.

Alds. Harris, Nieuwsma and Reid are also present. (Reid online initially, then arrives in chambers.)

Minutes approved.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A3, A7, A11, A13.

With those deletions, consent agenda is approved.

A3 – CRM software contract with QScend Technologies

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) asks about the features and what’s included.

Sue Pontarelli, 311 manager, says this vendor offers a new mobile app for the public and a separate one for city workers — and are included in the price.

Says also will be able to migrate the existing 11 years of data.


(Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) has arrived.)

A7 – Ballard Marine Construction contract to replace 1909 raw water intake

Dirk Price, interim corporation counsel, says the proposal tonight represents the best shot at saving Evanston taxpayers money — to be able to lock in the original prices bid and the state low-interest loan financing, which could be lost if there is delay.

Issue involves complicated litigation over the contract among the two lowest bidders on the project — each of whom had deficiencies in their bids.

Approved 4-1. Harris votes no.

A11 – Change order for lead service line replacement plan contract

Nieuwsma asks why city’s spending $49K to have somebody develop a website?

Edgar Cano, public works director, says that’s is the request. Says city doesn’t have the expertise in house to present all the technical data involved.

Nieuwsma says city needs the internal capability to do such work.

Dave Stoneback, deputy city manager, says the project will impact every residential property in Evanston. Says the city doesn’t have either of the two people who would likely work on developing the website.

Says would love to be able to do it all in house, but doesn’t have the resources.

Reid says may make sense to pay a contractor in this case.

Harris says she’s concerned about all the hiring of consultants — believes city needs to hire the talent in house.

Approved 5-0.

A13 – Boiler replacement at Noyes Center

Nieuwsma says disappointed that are replacing things on an emergency basis and end up using natural gas — rather than planning for an all electric future.

Approved 5-0.

A14 – City payment of private sewer repair line costs

Kelly moves amendments to remove restriction on value of home and requirements of insurance. As revised if homeowner earns less than $200K a year and the sewer lateral repair under the public way costs over $15K, the city would pick up the excess.

Says Des Plaines, Elgin, Oak Park and Chicago all cover all work done under the public way.

Reid proposes reducing the amount homeowner would have to pay from $15K to $10K. Doesn’t want to eliminate cap on the home price.

Stoneback says current city code says the homeowner is responsible for the entire cost from the home to the main-line sewer, generally located in the center of the street.

Kelly says Oak Park covers the distance from the curb to the sewer line.

Nieuwsma suggests tabling the proposal to clear up issues around the amendments.

Kelly says current policy is very unequitable.

Nieuwsma says one way or another taxpayers will have to pay for this proposal.

He moves to table to next meeting, Nov. 14. Kelly seconds that. And motion to table is approved.

A15 – Motor Fuel Tax fund transfer to general fund for street maintenance


A16 – Hiring participatory budgeting staff


A17&A18 – University of Ohio tailgate at Canal Shores


Discussion items

D1 – City removal of dead trees on private property

Now city issues fines if tree not removed. Burns concerned that tree falling would cause potentially serious injury or damage.

Says city needs to protect people from harm. City should be able remove the tree.

Stoneback says biggest concern is filing liens on property .. city would have to hire contractor, pay the contractor out of funds that don’t exist. Then have to refile the lien every seven years.

He says staff plans have forestry department and property standards to get the file notice. Says if it’s a really bad one city could seek a $300 a day fine. Says in the two cases Burns identified that process wasn’t followed. Asks to have council let staff correct the process — rather than changing the process.

Burns says he’s fine with trying that — but wants to keep the referral active so can bring it back if needed.

D2 – Discussion on code enforcement inspectors complaint process

Burns says he’s not focused on body cameras — wanted to expand the (police) complaint process, the Citizen Police Review Commission, to property standards inspectors.

Nieuwsma says he thinks it makes sense to have some complaint process, not sure the CPRC is the right solution

Nieuwsma and Kelly say they agree that they don’t think body cameras are the right solution — too invasive in the property standards setting.

Burns says he hopes to have more information regarding the issue for the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 6:51 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start at 6:55 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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