Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this afternoon’s final meeting of the 80th Evanston City Council.

The meeting began at 4:38 p.m.

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

Mayor Steve Hagerty says the plan now is to recess the council meeting for the swearing in of the new council later in the evening. (Issue was raised about whether holding two separate meetings — as has been done at past — is the appropriate procedure under state law.)

Mayor issues a proclamation for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Mayor issues keys to the city (on prerecorded video) to Evanston Own It, Friends of Robert Crown Center, the Evanston Health and Human Services Department, and to former Alderman Jane Grover and Judge (and former alderman) Lionel Jean-Baptiste.

Fire Chief Paul Polep announces promotion of Bill Muno to deputy chief.

Public Comment

Mayor says 18 people have signed up for public comment, so they’ll each have 2:30. (Comment is scheduled to be limited to 45 minutes.)

Ben Klitzkie of Nature’s Perspective Landscaping says the proposed restrictions on leaf blowers would add 40% to 50% to the time required for landscaping jobs and would mean they could handle 180 fewer accounts which could cost $500,000 in revenue and could require laying off up to 20 percent of their employees.

Alex Elliott says leave blowers are an ecological disaster.

Consent agenda
Off consent … P1 and P7 at request of Revelle
A7 and R1 at request of Fleming.
A8 off
P2 was tabled in committee (so it doesn’t advance for Council action tonight).
(Special orders of business — the retirement resolutions — remain on the consent agenda)

Consent agenda approved 9-0. (It’s now 5:26 p.m.)

A7 – Schedule of meeting dates for proposed Five-Fifths TIF.
Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says TIF would support development in underdeveloped neighborhoods in the 5th Ward.
Disputes claims that there’s any intent to displace current residents.

Paul Zalmezak, economic development manager, says ultimately the next City Council will decide whether to approve the TIF. Says the resolution tonight only authorizes holding meetings to review the proposal — a joint review board meeting and a public hearing.

Says certainly not adopting a plan that involves eminent domain — that claim is certifiably false. Says language regarding using eminent domain is required by state law — but city has no intent to use that approach (which it could use even without a TIF).

Says plan is intended to be a financial tool to renovate housing and to develop new affordable housing. Says TIF funds could be used for job training and improve infrastructure like water and sewer system.

Related stories

New TIF district proposed for 5th Ward (10/29/20)

5th Ward TIF district up for preliminary vote (2/7/21)

Approved 9-0 for introduction and action tonight.

A8 – Resident only parking district amendment — Sheridan Square

Approved 9-0 for introduction and action tonight.

P1 – Extending test of pro sports events at Welch-Ryan Arena.

Revelle says it would set a poor precedent urges no vote.

(Propsal now is for a one year extension. A two year extension was rejected at the last meeting.

Wilson says should provide an opportunity for the test, which was delayed by the COVID pandemic.

Approved for introduction on a 6-3 vote with Revelle, Suffredin and Wynne voting no.

P7 – Amending leaf blower policy.

Revelle says ordinance as now drafted is not ready for adoption. It would regulate gas, propane and electric (rather than just gas leaf blowers as the ordinance does now).

Notes that landscaping companies have signed contracts premised on being able to use the equipment — but ordinance change would take effect immediately.

Says should postpone action until later in the year and make it apply to the 2022 season

Braithwaite supports Revelle’s comments. Need to slow this down and have conversation with the businesses that will be greatly impacted.

Revelle moves to table it until the second meeting in June.

Braithwaite suggests postponing until after prime landscaping season, to make more convenient for landscaping firms to attend.

Wilson suggests making a decision before the fall cleanup season. Revelle says wants it not to go into effect until the 2022 season.

Wynne says understands concerns of the businesses that are being taken by surprise, but doesn’t want to put off decision until the fall. Also really wants the city to enforce the existing ban on use of gas leaf blowers during the summer.

Fleming says enforcement piece is almost impossible the way the ordinance is currently written. Wynne says should be issuing the citations to the property owners — because they’re hiring the landscapers who use the leaf blowers.

Revelle moves to table the ordinance until the June 14 meeting. Wynne seconds.

Approved 9-0.

R1 – Code of Ethics

Corporation Counsel Nick Cummings says need truly neutral party adjudicating ethics complaints, rather than an appointed citizen board.

Fleming says Skokie has a citizen panel. Concerned about “taking this all away from citizens.”

Cummings says two of the three Skokie members are attorneys and the third is a religious figure.

Revelle says she’s sympathetic with Fleming’s concern about retaining some citizen involvement in the process.

Cummings says the staff proposal is an efficient means of handling complaints that is compliant with case law. Assures that complaints are heard efficiently and in a legally sound way and that the rights of respondents are handled appropriately.

Wynne says what’s happened with the board of ethics over the last four years hasn’t served anyone well. Have had problems getting a quorum — denying both parties speedy resolution. That problem will be eliminated by this ordinance. Says ethics issues need to be addressed appropriately and quickly. Says very important to not have ex parte contact. Says board of ethics process has become too politicized.

Fleming moves to hold Revelle seconds.

Rainey moves to overrule the hold. Wilson seconds that.

Motion to override fails 5-4 (required a super-majority of 6 votes). Wilson, Rainey, Fiske, Braithwaite and Wynne voted for it.)

So the matter is held until the next City Council meeting.

Call of the Wards

Braithwaite… 7p Thursday ward meeting.

Recognition of Service

Mayor introduces five-minute video recapping what the City Council has accomplished over the last four years.

Hagerty says, after the video, that it’s been a privilege to serve as mayor over the last four years.

Then aldermen get to offer their comments

Rainey says “goodbye” will watch the next council meeting wishes everybody good luck.

Wynne says “We have accomplished a lot” over the last four years — a period unlike any other on the Council. Praises the aldermen who are leaving.

Wilson thanks his family “for enabling me to do this job.” Says honored to have served on Council over the last dozen years. Worked with incredibly accomplished staff.

Braithwaite says past four years have been pretty amazing, given obstacles overcome with COVID and a tenuous time in our country.

Revelle praises her colleagues who are departing from the Council.

Others also offer thanks to departing council members.

Wynne presents mayor with (from city staff) the wrench he used to open the water service between Evanston and Lincolnwood as well as a gold gavel. Says “you were the right man at the right time.”

Mayor praises the council members.

Council votes at 7 p.m. to recess until 7:30 p.m. … for the swearing in of the new City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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