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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

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

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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 4:37 p.m.

Alds. Clare Kelly (1st), Peter Braithwaite (2nd), Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Bobby Burns (5th) and Devon Reid (8th) present.

Minutes approved.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A3 – Parking garage rates, A7 – Elevator service agreement renewal, A8 – Animal shelter architectural contract amendment, A10 – Fire Station 4 renovation contract change order.

Consent agenda approved.

A3 – Parking garage rates

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Michael Rivera, parking division manager, says plan is to charge $1 for first hour (now free) and charge for parking on Sunday (now free).

Says costs for parking system are increasing. Says garages are 15, 20 and 37 years old and need more funds for repairs.

Nieuwsma says can anticipate objections to eliminating something that’s been free. Says he leans toward making just the first half-hour free.

Rivera says wants to add more electric vehicle charges that cost $7K each, plus installation costs. (City is about to get a Tesla charging system for free at the Maple Avenue garage.

Says is looking to add QR code readers as a validating system to replace the current manual one.

Says eliminating the first hour free would mean $366K in new revenue at this year’s parking garage usage. Says would be about half that if the first half hour was free.

Kelly says eliminating the free parking could hurt downtown businesses. Worries about competition with Wilmette where parking is generally free.

Rivera says the city has earned $1.17 million from the garages this year and has incurred $2 million in expenses.

Braithwaite says can’t compare downtown Evanston to downtown Wilmette, as Kelly had suggested.

Says should capture the additional revenue.

Reid supports the change — charging for the full first hour — wants to capture the additional revenue. Likes that it is coupled with a plan to lower on-street and parking lot rates in areas that are underutilized now.

Kelly says shouldn’t be doing this in isolation, wants comprehensive study.

Burns says he’d rather had 30 minutes free. Says vehicles are not cost or carbon neutral — need to generate enough revenue to maintain garages and roads.

Nieuwsma agrees with Burns and says wants to keep Sundays free as well.

Committee votes 3-2 to advance the measure to City Council. Kelly and Nieuwsma vote no.

Sounds like there will be discussion of possible amendments at Council.

A7 – Elevator service agreement renewal

Approved 5-0.

A8 – Animal shelter architectural contract amendment

City Engineer Lara Biggs says cost per square foot for the 8,500 square foot building is $325 … adding in the site improvements brings the total cost to $465 per square foot.

Kelly raises objections to having a “luxurious” animal shelter.

Approved 4-1. Kelly votes no.

A10 – Fire Station 4 renovation contract change order

Approved 5-0.

Items for consideration

A22 – Amending parking penalties.

Increases fines from $55 to $75 for safety-related parking restrictions.

Rivera says would raise an additional $59K in fine revenue.

Nieuwsma says concerned that may have differential impact on different parts of town.

Reid wants more detail on distribution of tickets. But says these are safety issues — like parking on a sidewalk. Supports holding off on the vote until next meeting.

Committee members indicate they want to see some revisions to the proposal before final adoption. But they vote 5-0 to move it on to full City Council, anticipating amendments there. (This happens after considerable parliamentary confusion.)

A23 – Amending parking meter zones
Reduces rates from $2/hour to $0.50/hour in certain underutilized locations.

Meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

City Council to start at 6:25 p.m.

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