Here’s a recap of our live coverage of the Monday evening meeting of the Evanston City Council’s 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.

At 5:07 p.m. a number of alders are speaking to each other off mike, but the meeting has not yet begun.

Meeting called to order at 5:09 p.m.

Alds. Kelly, Harris, Nieuwsma, Burns are present in the room. Reid is online. Kelly chairs.

Minutes approved.

Public Comment

Bob Fisher and Richard Gilbert from Evanston Lumber speak in favor of having trucks using Oakton to Custer as a route to the lumberyard, rather than making them make the sharp, dangerous turn at Main Street and Custer Avenue.

Tim Schoolmaster, president of police pension board, argues for higher funding for the public safety pension funds. Related story.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says he believes the Council is prepared to do what’s necessary to handle the issue.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says the finance and budget committee recommended fully funding police and fire pensions.

Consent agenda

Off Consent: A3, A7, A9, A10.

Rest of consent agenda approved.

A3 – 2024 Mack Truck for workforce development

Sean Ciolik, fleet manager, says haven’t found anything appropriate yet for an electric truck alternative.

Approved 5-0.

A7 – Contractor to staff Reimaging Public Safety Committee

Burns says need staff support to advance this work. Existing city staff already overworked, he says.

Approved 5-0.

A9 – Shoreline Repairs contact change order

Kelly questions the need for the work.

City Engineer Lara Biggs says its related to reopening the dog beach in a way that complies with ADA rules and county health regulations.

Kelly praises reopening of dog beach this fall.

Approved 5-0

A10 – SAFEbuilt contract amendment for inspection and plan review services

Interim Community Development Director Sarah Flax says SAFEbuilt has a local office and has been working with the city for years. Hopes to hire a city staffer to do the job at some point next year, but still have SAFEbuilt for backup. (It has offices in Park Ridge and Oakbrook.)

Approved 5-0

A11 – City payment of private sewer line repair costs over $15K

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) makes amendment with her mike turned off.

Kelly says the proposed amendment would have the city pick up the cost above $5K for households earning $100K or less.

Burns says there’s a risk this will lead to increased sewer rates — but says he’s OK with that, since the city now pays for a portion of the cost of water line repairs.

Reid (who’s now in the room) says the added cost is likely to be less than $50K a year, based on conversations with staff. So doesn’t think will actually have to raise rates.

Nieuwsma says he opposes the plan, for reasons he’s stated before.

Amendment passes.

Resolution as amended approved 4-1. Nieuwsma votes no.

A12 – Evanston Children’s Choir 9-month lease at Noyes Center


A13 – 12-month lease agreements at Noyes for 24 entities


A14 – Hoffman House Catering contract for senior meals food program

Reid asks whether Meals on Wheels could do the job.

Initially rejected 2-3. Then motion to reconsider approved. Then Reid moves to table until next meeting.

Corporation Counsel Nick Cummings notes that its a renewal of the contract. Renewal is effective Oct. 1. this year — so contract is already underway.

Harris says most important to feed the seniors — but wants future contracts to be local.

Audrey Thompson, director of Parks and Recreation, says contract is in third renewal year and will go out to bid next year.

So now the vote is to approve the contract.

A15 – Settlement of claims in Mack v. City of Evanston

Approved 5-0.

A16 – Add three-way stop at Florence and Washington

Approved 5-0.

A17-A19 – Sanitation, Water and Sewer rate hikes

Nieuwsma notes that that can save money by switching to smaller waste carts.

Reid says he’s concerned about rats, says countries like Norway have people go to centralized locations — maybe a block or two away — to deposit their trash. Says shouldn’t have to send city workers to each house to pick up trash. Could save money, he says.

All three rate increases approved 5-0

D1 – Evanston Lumber delivery truck route

Previous proposal had been to shift the truck route (for all trucks) to Oakton Street from Main Street and then run up Custer Avenue. (Also considered Howard as an alternative at one point.)

Nieuwsma says there are safety issues for pedestrians and traffic obstructions from trucks getting hung up making the turn.

Says don’t need to change the truck route as a whole — but now considering just using Oakton for the lumberyard’s trucks.

Says existing city code allows trucks to deviate from truck routes where there’s a safety risk — and wants to make that change explicit.

Reid complains that south end of town has lowest air quality in the city. Says this solution is a bit better — because it limits the number of trucks that would be using Oakton.

He says since it’s legal now, council shouldn’t need to act on it.

Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) says Oakton is scheduled to get a traffic calming project next summer. Objects to existing heavy traffic. Doesn’t want any more.

Reid suggests finding another location for what Evanston Lumber does, but concedes he doesn’t know what the business does.

Nieuwsma says Evanston Lumber gets 30 semi-truck deliveries a week. Mostly Monday, Wednesday and Friday, mostly in the morning. Says it’s the best solution to the problem.

Burns says could just leave it up to staff to decide.

Geracaris says everybody in the neighborhood complains about trucks that aren’t supposed to be there going down Oakton and Asbury.

No action.

D2 – Shoreline repair project presentation

Mark Wagstaff, from consultant Smith Group, makes presentation.

Lake level is governing factor, he says. Water level varies over a range of about six feet. When have higher levels get very damaging wave conditions. Had record high levels in 2020, but in 2012-13 had record low levels. Don’t know what will happen in the future.

Says project schedule calls for coming up with recommendations by next spring.

May offer combination of more traditional and “greener” solutions.

Meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting now scheduled to begin at 7:15 pm — 45 minutes later than originally scheduled.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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