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

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

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

(Monday’s Planning and Development Committee meeting has been canceled, so the full City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.)

@ 5:05 p.m. Chair Krissie Harris says they’re still waiting to have a quorum for the meeting. She and Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) are the only council members in the room.

Meeting starts at 5:09 p.m. with the arrival in person of Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) and, online, of Ald. Devon Reid (8th). Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) is absent tonight.

Minutes approved.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A14, A15.

Rest of consent agenda approved.

A14 – Contract award to Worxbee for virtual executive assistance service for council members

Burns amends to indicate monthly rate of $6,240 — not $7,800 — and adding option for city to terminate the agreement with 45 days notice, rather than a full-year contract. Covers 80 hours per month, rather than 100 hours per month of service.

Nieuwsma says he’s concerned about not having the terms in the contract. Says for a cost of $75K per year should be hiring someone in house. Says would be better served by having someone on staff rather than remote administrative support.

Burns says having a month to month agreement lets the city explore how much service it needs. Says this provides “active working hours” that are tracked and should provide more efficiency. Can decide during budget season this fall can decide whether to bring the service in house.

Reid (who’s now in the room) says he plans to vote yes.

Approved 3-1. Nieuwsma votes no.

A15 – New public park space (commitment letter to IDNR)

Nieuwsma suggests moving the discussion to full Council.

Burns says have time to discuss now (at 5:28 p.m. … when Council meeting isn’t to start until 6 p.m.)

Nieuwsma says need better communication District 65. Going to cost the city a “non-trivial amount of money.” Should be collaborating better with the district on the process.

Burns says city has been having regular conversations with District 65. As proposal has changed has created a situation that didn’t know months ago.

Says new design preserves the playfield (but at the cost of replacing the basketball court and tennis courts with a parking lot).

Says are parcels near ETHS where might be able to do a land swap.

City Engineer Lara Biggs says the grant agreement with the state requires replacement of park space. City has acquired property along the Mayfair rail right of way. Says IDNR indicates may be able to use that property, even though.

Says doesn’t have to be tennis courts, specifically, but needs equivalent improvements.

Says can’t guarantee that it will all work out. But needs a commitment from the city to follow through before the tennis courts are demolished.

Nieuwsma says everybody on the council has endorsed the idea of a 5th Ward School — but it requires close collaboration between the district and the city.

Says district is limiting the city’s opportunity to weigh in and collaborate with the benefit for the entire city.

Biggs says can’t tell for sure whether city will be able to make the Mayfair property solution work. The other plans would require a significant financial commitment by the city, she says.

Harris says solution will also require community input that hasn’t happened yet.

Biggs says the school district isn’t bound by the grant agreement. It’s their property and they can do what they want with it.

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Alex Ruggie, deputy city attorney, says city has until 2028 to complete the replacement facility. Resolution tonight would just authorize staff to move forward with coming up with a solution.

Nieuwsma says doesn’t like to be forced into a situation where have no choice.

Approved 4-0.

Meeting adjourned at 5:53 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 6 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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