Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:55 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:58 p.m.

All members present except Braithwaite. Mayor Biss chairs.
Mayor announces designation of July as Parks and Recreation Month

City Engineer Lara Biggs gives presentation on skate parks.

Public Comment

Consent Agenda

Off consent … P1 A12 H1 R1 CM1 … announced by Mayor
Also A4, A10, A13 at request of Reid
A2, A7 at request of Suffredin

Rest of consent agenda approved.

CM 1 – Minutes
With amendment proposed by city clerk.
Approved 8-0

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

Approved 7-0-1 Suffredin abstains

A4 – Fire Station #4 renovations contract
Renovations to provide gender separation in living quarters, after roof damage that caused water leakage over the winter.
Approved 8-0.

A7 – Vending machine contract renewal
Approved 6-2. Kelly and Fleming vote on.

A10 – Groot commercial waste agreement extension
Reid says seems Chicago garbage dumpsters are in better condition than ours — and they are using multiple vendors. Says getting lot of complaints about rodents who are getting into bins. Wants Groot to step up its game.

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says city works with Groot to address overflowing dumpsters by increasing service. Have asked them to replace dumpster lids. Says Groot is aware of concerns regarding rodent situation.

Reid moves to hold. Fleming seconds. Nobody moves to overrule. So the contract is held until the next meeting.

A12 – Lakefront parking fee pilot program
Motion to suspend the rules for introduction and action tonight fails.

Suffredin says everyone who wants free beaches next year should be aware that the money has to come from somewhere — and this proposal would all a test to see if can get it from non-residents.

Reid says it makes sense to charge for parking.

Wynne opposes the measure. Didn’t support free beaches — needed to study that to make up the revenue. Not in support to 100% free beaches without a thorough study and how would recover the money. Says residents would be directly affected — people will hunt for free parking — in the near-lakefront area. Doubts will see expected revenue.

Nieuwsma says need public engagement on both food trucks and parking. Won’t support parking change now –but might support it after further public engagement.

Kelly says lakefront should be a more welcoming place — shouldn’t be using it to generate revenue.

Fleming says charging people from out of town to park at the beach shouldn’t be a problem when we’re charging residents to park all over the rest of the city.

Revelle says she’s concerned about the financial model. Doesn’t think the revenues will support the expense because people will find a place to park for free just a block away.

Michael Rivera, parking manager, says parking garage revenue now is running at 55% of what it had been before COVID. Says once the usage goes back up to 70% a vendor already selected to conduct a citywide parking study will get to work.

Approved 5-4. Aldermen split 4-4 and mayor casts the deciding vote in favor. (Voting against were Revelle, Kelly, Wynne and Nieuwsma.

A13 – Hotel tax amendment
Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says the amendment would let third parties (like AirBnB) that are intermediaries for the transaction to remit the tax, rather than requiring individual homeowners to do so.

Approved 8-0.

H1 – Authorizing lakefront food trucks
Reid drops request to give final approval to the measure tonight.
Says it will be a good test for this year. Not creating any permanent structures.

Nieuwsma says would like to be able to grab food at the lakefront. But doesn’t want to move too fast. Need public engagement process.

Wynne says has 10 meetings all over Evanston to develop the lakefront master plan over the course of a year. Suggests doing another plan. Doesn’t want to do it piecemeal.

Wynne moves to hold. Revelle seconds. Reid moves to overrule the hold. Fleming seconds Reid’s motion. Mayor notes it will require six votes to overrule the hold.

Override motion fails 3-5.

So item will be on agenda for next meeting.

R1 – Codifying the Economic Development Committee
Wynne moves Nieuswma seconds for introduction and action.
Wynne says the change would enable having more Council members sit on the committee — as more members have requested.
Reid votes not to suspend the rules, so they aren’t.
Motion introduce the ordinance is made by Wynne and seconded by Revelle.
Amended to change the section numbers on an 8-0 vote.
Ordinance as amended is approved for introduction 8-0.

Call of the Wards

Burns … 5th Ward meeting 6/30 7 p.m. Virtual. Five/Fifths TIF discussion, etc.
Reid… 8th Ward meeting 7/10 time TBD. Virtual.
Kelly … 1st Ward meeting 6/30 7 p.m. … focused on American Rescue Plan funds
Nieuwsma … 4th Ward Tuesday, 7/6 in person at Robert Crown.

Council moves to go into executive session to discuss personnel, settlements and litigation.

Public meeting ends at 9:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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