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Recap: City Council

Here's a recap of our live coverage of Monday night's Evanston City Council meeting.

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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7:55 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:59 p.m.

Mayor Daniel Biss says that after public comment and before other action, the council will go into executive session to discuss personnel issues.

City Manager Erika Storlie says there will be a special city council meeting to discuss affordable housing the third Monday of September.
Says the Civic Center is open for public meetings, but the full reopening of the center is scheduled for Oct. 18.

Brad Kohl of the Illinois Municipal League presents the 2021 All American Cities Award to Evanston. (Only 10 cities receive the award each year.)

Health Director Ike Ogbo says city has averaged 8.57 new cases over the last seven days, which is a significant increase. Positivity rate is 2.1%. Haven’t had any deaths in the city from COVID since May. Says the most broadly infected age group no is those 20 to 29 years old (a dramatic reversal from earlier in the pandemic when the elderly were most likely to be infected).

Deaths per 10,00 residents, 15 in Evanston nearly 22 in Skokie. Says transmission rate in Evanston is now “substantial” but Skokie is worse, at a “high” transmission rate.

Says only three cases of the more serious Delta variant have been reported here so far.

Public Comment

Public Comment started at 8:25 p.m. and ended at 9:12 p.m. With many people scheduled to speak, the mayor gave one minute to each speaker. Many speakers exceeded that limit, but some scheduled speakers didn’t actually comment. In the end 28 people spoke. Four spoke in favor of the city manager, another five spoke against her. Nine objected to the proposed confidentiality provisions in the draft separation agreement. The rest emphasized a variety of other issues.

Executive session

Council votes to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues. It’s 9:13 p.m.

We’ll resume the report when they return to public session.

Update: It’s now 10:17 p.m. and the Council is still in executive session.

Public council meeting resumes at 10:55 p.m.

Mayor Biss says there’s a lot to talk through. Says the resolution reached was to decline to take action tonight. Spend some time to reach an agreement that addresses some concerns people have and assure that the agreement would be put before the public for inspection and a vote.

Says making such a decision without public input would be enormously risky for the city.

Requests a motion to table SP-1 until a special meeting Thursday evening.

Nieuwsma moves the tabling. Wynne seconds. Approved unanimously.

SP2 – Allocating $300K of ARPA funds for a guaranteed income pilot program
This is an outgrowth of a project that’s been part of the Northwestern University Good Neighbor program. Provides additional funding beyond what Northwestern has already provided for it.

Ald. Cicely Fleming (9th) says program would provide $500/month for 12 months — targeting disengaged youth, undocumented immigrants and senior citizens.

In response to question from Braithwaite, Northwestern’s Dave Davis says plans are in development for a research component to the project that measure its impact.

Fleming moves to increase the funding from $300K to $700K — with NU’s $300K contribution — would provide $1M total funding for the year. Could aid 166 people.

Reid says he supports the idea.

Burns says he’s concerned about committing ARPA money and whether other council members can now bring forth proposals for spending it.

Biss says, seems like that is the case.

Nieuwsma asks what’s the plan for funding it after the ARPA money runs out?

Amendment approved 9-0. As amended approved 9-0.

Consent agenda

Kelly removes A15

Braithwaite: A6, A7 and A9 held in committee

Suffredin A2.

Wynne: P6 was tabled P7 did not make it out of committee

Reid: A13 and A14 and P5 and R1

Biss: AP1

Nieuwsma: A10

What’s left on consent agenda is approved 9-0.

A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A10 – $3.95M in ARPA grant funds for water and parking projects
Approved 8-1. Reid votes no.

A13 – Amending city code regarding process for sale of real property
Reid says wants to create a web page where any proposed property sales are listed.
City manager says will work to include that proposal in the version of the ordinance when it appears for final action at first September meeting.
Fleming suggests small sales might not need to be posted in the paper.
City Attorney Nicholas Cummings says state law requires process that includes publication of notice.
Vote for introduction is 8-1. Reid votes no.

A14 – Sale of EFD “Mobile Scotty House”
Reid objects that item has not gone through the referrals committee.
Approved 9-0, for introduction and action.

A15 – 2021 General Obligation bond issues
Kelly claims there are other funds available. Proposes reducing borrowing amount from $18M to $7M.
Reid seconds Kelly’s motion.

Finance Director Hitesh Desai and City Manager Erika Storlie says that in one way or another the funds Kelly refers to are committed to projects or needed for emergency repairs that may arise.

Braithwaite says he’s prepared to vote on the proposal tonight. Suggests future discussion in detail of funding process.

Wynne complains that as result of decision to hold projects in committee earlier tonight pavement markings and speed humps won’t be done this year — and they are critical to pedestrian safety.

Motion to end debate on the amendment and call the question passes unanimously.

Vote on amendment is 4-5, so fails.

Vote on approving issuance of the bonds is 5-4, with Burns, Fleming, Kelly and Reid on the losing side.

P5 – ADI moratorium

Approved 6-3. Fleming, Suffredin and Reid vote no.

R1 – Deputy city clerk appointments
Would let clerk appoint a deputy without approval of city manager.
Approved 8-1. Braithwaite votes no.

AP1 – Appointments
Approved 8-1. Reid votes no.

Call of the Wards

Nieuwsma … no office hours for August. Next ward meeting Wed. Sept. 8.

Reid … referrals for fair workweek ordinance, review of confidential informant policy, compensation for council members.

Meeting adjourned at 12:21 a.m.

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