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 5:02 p.m.

Four members present — Alds. Clare Kelly (1st), Krissie Harris (2nd), Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Devon Reid (8th). Burns is absent. Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) chairs.

Public Comment

Several speakers oppose hiring the contractor recommended by city staff to conduct an economic impact study of Northwestern University’s Ryan Field project.

Consent Agenda

Items A1 and A3 off consent. With those deletions, consent agenda is approved.

Items for consideration

A1 – Bills list

Approved 4-0-1. Nieuwsma abstains because his wife’s employer is a vendor on the bills list.

A3 – Hunden Strategic Partners Ryan Field impact study contract

Moved by Nieuwsma, seconded by Reid.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says it would provide an independent review. But given the community concern, she recommends issuing a request for proposals for the work.

Paul Zalmezak, economic development manager, says city staff wanted to move quickly to get an independent study of the economic impact. Says traditionally would go before the Economic Development Committee on the Feb. 22. Takes then 14 days for firms to respond. Once bidding closes, staff panel would review and bring to City Council. Says hopes could get that done by March 22 to City Council.

Revelle says she likes the “civic engageement” piece that was part of one of the proposals.

Reid says its pretty clear that Hunden isn’t the right firm for the city.

Nieuwsma asks what’s the scope of work going to be.

Zalmezak says likely to be very similar — plus what Revelle just proposed.

Nieuwsma says wants to get info on traffic and logistics.

Zalmezak says an economic impact study isn’t going to cover traffic — so that’s likely to require a different firm.

Kelly says she agrees with Revelle and should do the $15K community outreach proposal.

Reid wants people across entire city to comment on the project — not just 7th Ward residents, as Revelle had proposed.

Harris agrees that it should be a city-wide impact report. Says she feels its disheartening to hear that there’s a mistrust of the city and the staff. Says all the studies cost money and the council will later be accused of spending too much.

Contract award is rejected unanimously. (Burns has now arrived.)

Reid moves to refer the RFP concept to the Economic Development Committee. Approved unanimously.

Items for discussion

D1 – Amending electric vehicle charging payment structure

Cara Pratt, sustainability manager, says city doesn’t currently charge for the electricity — only for the parking space.

Says to be able to afford to expand the charging network — need to recover cost.

Proposes that city charge per kilowattt hour. Says charging at $0.15/kWh would increase revenue more than 12-fold … to $2,500/mo from about $2,300/year now.

Reid says would like to charge an amount that makes the city competitive with the private market. Says people who are buying electric vehicles can cover the cost and then some. Would like to see revenue spent on bike and walking infrastructure.

Nieuwsma says “can’t be giving away the juice for free.” Says the electricity costs about $0.05/kWh. Maintenance cost on chargers is an additional cost. Says Oak Park and Wilmette are still offering free electricity — so somewhat concerned about driving people elsewhere.

Kelly wants city to look at ways to promote use of electric cars in lower-income communities.

Reid moves that staff prepare an ordinance in line with Pratt’s recommendations.


Meeting adjourned at 5:53 p.m.

P&D meeting to start at 6:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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