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 begin at 5 p.m.

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

The committee members are Ald. Clare Kelly (1st), Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd), Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) and Ald. Devon Reid (8th). Harris is the current chair of the committee.

Minutes and public comment

Meeting called to order at 5:03 p.m. All five members present. Minutes approved. No speakers for public comment.

Consent agenda

Removed from consent agenda: A2, A3, A6, A7.

Consent agenda, minus those items, approved.

A2 – ARPA funs for Arrington Lagoon patio furniture and lighting

$61k amount. Reid objects. Says more diverse set of council members should have had input on the proposal.

Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak says actual cost of the project is $54,063.51.

Reid says the project is placemaking and that the proposal should have gone to the Economic Development Committee.

Zalmezak says proposal dates back to pre-COVID days, staff was working on ways to bring dining options to city facilities. Says there doesn’t appear to be a official committee process for “placemaking” proposals.

Reid said the lagoon building needs to be made functional so someone can operate selling more than just hot dogs.

Zalmezak says the city is still working on the concept of having a restaurant in the lagoon building.

Kelly says she thinks the project “will be lovely” and “will draw people to Evanston.”

Kelly, in response to a question from Burns, says the furniture can be stacked and locked overnight.

Amendment reducing the price approved 5-0.

Zalmezak says the plan, regarding security for the furniture, is to have the to-be-chosen concessionaire put them away at night and set them out during the day.

On main motion the vote is 4-1. Harris votes no, concerned about process for approving ARPA spending.

A3 – Fee structure for use of public space for outdoor dining

Nieuwsma suggest continuing to waive the fees for outdoor dining this year. Says need to support small businesses and support outdoor dining — cites the “Evanston Thrives” report.

Says shouldn’t be charging for outdoor dining, but promoting it.

Reid says he agrees with Nieuwsma, on waiving the fees (at least for this year).

Deputy City Manager Dave Stoneback says there is cost associated with issuing the permits and making sure sidewalks aren’t obstructed, and also to provide barriers for dining areas in the street.

Nieuwsma moves to waive the permit fees and Jersey barriers for this year.

Amendment is approved 5-0. And proposal as amended is approved 5-0.

A6 – Greeley and Hansen water plant electrical system reliability project contract

Approved 5-0.

A7 – Change order to Greeley and Hansen electrical system project contract

Approved 5-0.

Discussion item

D1 – City Council approval for excess employee payments

Kelly says idea would require Council action for approval of payouts to departing employees over $25K.

Reid says there have been a number of payouts to former employees unilaterally approved by previous city managers. Some community members weren’t enthused about that where “harm was caused.”

Says current ordinance with cap of $25K for manager-approved payouts — doesn’t appear to cover payments to departing employees.

Nieuwsma asks for legal department view

Alex Ruggie, deputy city attorney, says severance payments are made out of approved salaries for a given year for that position. Anything beyond that plus $25K would require Council approval.

Says city code as its currently drafted is a bit ambiguous, could be amended.

Reid moves to have an ordinance drafted on the issue for the second A&PW meeting in June.

Approved 5-0.

Meeting adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start in five minutes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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