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Recap: City Council

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

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

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

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

Meeting called to order at 7:07 p.m.

Mayor’s announcements

40th Anniversary of James B. Moran Center (Mayor says it supports youth caught up in the “criminal injustice system”)

Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15) and Destination Imagination Participants (postponed to a subsequent meeting).

City Manager Annoucements … introduces new ComEd external affairs representative, Edith Ruiz.

Public Comment

One minute 40 seconds per person tonight

Public comment ends at 8:02 p.m.

SP1 – Mid-year financial report
Hitesh Desai, CFO, says revenue through June at 55% of budget, expenses at 50% of budget.
Says property tax revenue is higher in first half of year. because first installment is 55% of last year’s tax bill.
Says some major revenue sources are trending higher than expected. Others are on track. A few are lower — hotel tax, parking tickets and motor fuel tax.
Says expenses are holding steady to budget.

Kate Lewis Lakin, budget manager, says parking fund is falling short on revenue because of limited parking usage. Says could get ARPA money — if City Council decides to spend it on that.

City has committed $4.6 million of its $43 million in ARPA funds to programs so far.

Looking to 2022 budget … staff expects increased revenue from income tax, sales tax, amusement tax, hotel tax, athletic contest tax.

But expects union wage increases, health insurance increases, but will save some on IMRF retirement fund payments because of high investment returns.

City Manager Erika Stolie says city faces $1.4 million in increased spending for next year — even if don’t fill any of more than two dozen positions held vacant this year.

Proposed budget too be released Monday, Oct. 11. Final budget expected to be adopted on Nov. 22.

SP2 – Interim City Manager appointment

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) moves approval. Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) seconds.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) and Devon Reid (8th) object that there was only four days instead of five days notice of the proposal.

Mayor Daniel Biss says given that, could treat as a regular order of business, which would permit a hold. Or could suspend the rules and treat it as a special order of business.

Deputy city attorney says the mayor can place a special order of business on the agenda — even without the five day notice.

Mayor says he’s OK with treating it as a regular order of business.

Reid moves to hold. Asks that the prospective interim manager, Kelly Gandurski, be present for that meeting. Kelly seconds the motion.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) says he’s concerned about the scheduled resignation of the current city manager, which is Oct. 8.

Conclusion is that the hold would be to Oct. 20 — which is the next meeting (usually would be two week delay).

Revelle says next Monday’s meeting is a special meeting. Next regular meeting is Sept. 27.

Reid moves to withdraw the hold and instead moves to table the item to Sept. 20 meeting.

Approved 8-1. Revelle votes no.

So, will discuss again on Sept. 20.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A1, A14, A19 (failed in committee), A24-27, A28, A29-33 (33 is a duplicate of 34), A34, P3.

Consent agenda approved 9-0.

A1 – BMO Harris credit card bills
Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A14 – Crown park landscape maintenance contract change order

Reid favors a different bidder.

Braithwaite says it’s a change order, not a new contract.

Stoneback says if bid the contract out now the work won’t get done until next year.
Says would take 20 to 30 hours of staff time to prepare a bid.

Wynne says holding the project is unnecessary — that work needs to be done this fall.

Reid’s motion initially fails to get a second, but eventually is seconded by Burns.

Wynne moves to override. Revelle seconds.

Motion to override fails 4-5. So it’s held until next meeting.

A24 – Commitments concerning proposed Five Fifths TIF

Reid moves to hold. Says he’s concerned the resolution would bind city to not use TIF funds for a public schools.
Burns seconds the hold. Says can take action on this at the time of scheduled adoption of the TIF ordinances in two weeks.

A25 – TIF redevelopment plan and project

Kelly says she’s concerned about lack of support from District 65.

Burns says there was a joint review board hearing where the TIF was unanimously approved. D65 CFO was present and voted for it. Says idea of an intergovernmental agreement surfaced at a later meeting. Says are waiting to hear back from D65.

Reid says he generally doesn’t support TIF as a tool for economic development. But says this particular TIF makes quite a bit of sense.

Wynne praises Burns for outreach and leadership on the issue. Says Chicago has used TIFs badly — has left a stain on them. But Evanston has used TIFs very strategically and to the city’s advantage, very effectively.

Nieuwsma suggests a community advisory board.

Fleming says there is skepticism in the community. Not every decision needs to cater to that skepticism, but … Says TIF seems to put cart before the horse about possible sale of civic center. Says there’s a lot of fear about gentrification. Says can’t say that because of TIF there won’t be gentrification.
Says Council is not in a position to decide about the schools.

Kelly says not all TIFs in Evanston have met their goals. Says there’s resounding opposition to the TIF in the neighborhood. It makes a joke of the outreach.
Says is lacking tremendously in transparency.

Burns says city staff recommended an intergovernmental agreement. Needs to be consideration on both sides. Waiting to hear back from the district. Says will be developing new city plans to inform how the TIF funds are use. Says there is a lot of support for the TIF as well as a lot of concern. Says the concerns have been addressed — except for those who are totally opposed to TIFs.

Ordinance approved for introduction 6-3. Kelly, Fleming and Suffredin vote no.

A26 and A27 — the other two Five Fifths TIF ordinances

Kelly says if many people don’t want a TIF — that should be respected. Says should address the needs with ARPA money.
Burns says all the (specific) concerns have been addressed.

Ordinance approved for introduction 6-3. Kelly, Fleming and Suffredin vote no.

A28 – New L2 liquor license classification

Reid wants to reduce the license fee. Nieuwsma, the sponsor of the ordinance, to look into that.
Approved for introduction 9-0

Revelle moves suspension of the rules for A29 through A32, to allow for introduction and action tonight.
Approved 9-0.

Items A29 through A32 moved for approval
A29 is four way stop at Hartrey and Payne
A30 liquor license for DeSalvo’s Pizza, 1945 Central
A31 liquor license for Evanston Pour, 528 Dempster.
A32 liquor license for Trulee Evanston, 1815 Ridge.
Approved 9-0.

A33 – Amending city code regarding sale of real property
Approved 9-0.

P3 – Provisional moratorium on non-owner-occupied internal and attached accessory dwelling units.

Fleming says concerned about the vastness of the rule — says the problem seems to only apply to the area immediately around Northwestern. Says the subcommittee (appointed tonight) should look into the issue before there’s action on a moratorium.

Burns says has had a lot of community members troubled about this. Says he’s a board member of an accessory dwelling unit developer. Doesn’t want to see any moratorium beyond six months. Would not support permanent ban on non-owner-occupied internal and attached ADUs. But until come up with plans to address the concerns that arise near campus, this is a good first step.

Reid plans to vote against the moratorium. Says understands the concerns of people living near the campus. But thinks the policy doesn’t target the issue. Says it’s critically important to allow internal ADUs. Wants to promote affordable housing — near the lakefront and across the city.

Braithwaite not in support of the moratorium. Says its an assault on affordable housing and the work done previously. Moratorium is the wrong approach and the wrong tool. Sends a bad message to lenders and developers. Says could use landlord licensing and nuisance premises to address the issues.

Kelly claims the moratorium would improve affordability — because developers are raising prices for homes to do ADU conversions.

Revelle echoes Burns’ comments — is strongly supportive of ADUs, she says. Can’t see herself supporting a continuation of the ban on internal or attached ADUs beyond the six months. More concerned about what outside investors do — price them out of the range of middle-income families.

Nieuwsma, says he’s also a member of the development coop, claims moratorium is just a temporary fix to address issue of student housing and student behavior around Northwestern. Doesn’t think impact of temporary moratorium will be that significant. Says city has only issued nine permits in past year, none of them for internal ADUs. Says is not supporting a moratorium.

Reid says has not seen data that shows that internal ADUs decrease affordability, as Kelly claimed. Says instead it could create missing middle housing throughout Evanston.

Vote is 4-5 against. The yes votes are from Wynne, Burns, Revelle and Kelly.

Kelly says the council members who are members of the Evanston Development Cooperative should have recused themselves.

Nieuwsma says the EDC doesn’t do internal ADUs, so the co-op members have no financial interest in the issue.

Deputy corporation counsel if have financial interest would need to recuse selves from the vote.

Mayor Daniel Biss says its up to the council member to recuse themselves if they feel there’s a conflict.

City Manager Erika Storlie says it takes five affirmative votes for the measure to pass. So even if all the members involved recused themselves there wouldn’t be enough votes to approve it.

Nieuwsma says if he felt there were financial implications to his vote he would have recused himself.

Call of the Wards

Braithwaite … announced funeral services for Pat Efiom and Zollie Webb (details in our obituary stories for them).

Wynne … notes passing of Efiom, Webb … and of Barbara Janes, community activist, who died Sept. 3.

Nieuwsma … says hearing from constituents about aggressive panhandling, uncivilized and criminal behavior — looks forward to working with colleagues and city staff to address the concerns.

Burns … Suggests calling on city outreach workers to address those issues.

Revelle … virtual ward meeting Sept. 22 –update about Artists Book House and the Jens Jensen garden.

Reid … new Linden Room dedicated at Levy Center today. Ward meeting at end of month.

Fleming … virtual ward meeting Sept. 22.

Kelly .. says she had known Barbara Janes for 50 years, fighting for the community up to the end.

Council votes to go into executive session to discuss personnel, real estate and litigation at 10:49 p.m.

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