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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:06 p.m.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) is absent. All other members present. Revelle arrives at 6:40 p.m.

Public Comment

Chris Dillow says there’s insufficient resources to support the Connections shelter at the Margarita Inn. Says it will change everything in that area. Says it’s a homeless temporary shelter — not a rooming house.

Kent Swanson calls Out of Space concert series has been a well-run local event that supports many local businesses.

Tim Pretch, a Canal Shores board member, says Space has been a great partner with the Out of Space concerts.

Doreen Price wants free water for low income residents.

Public comment ends at 6:24 p.m.

Special order of business

SP1 – ARPA Plan and Workforce Development Updates

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) suggests having a point value associated with each of the criteria for evaluating projects. Otherwise, he says, it’s “really great stuff.”

But wants categories tied to the relevant council committees.

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski says staff wanted to let each committee set its own criteria and point rankings.

Housing and Grants Administrator Sarah Flax says the categories don’t necessarily relate to the committee assignments.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says doesn’t think the result will change if further revamp the structure.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says this is now a document that will be consistently applied across all proposals. But wants Qualified Census Tract added as a scoring criterion.

Flax says that in the final federal rule the “deeply impacted communities” was expanded to be not just geographic — can now be a category of people or business. Says staff is looking at childcare providers based on percent of low income children served.

Approved 9-0. Plan accepted and placed on file.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A1 through A4 and A6 and H1.

Approved unanimously.

A1 – Payroll and Bills

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) objects to $263.82 farewell party for someone who didn’t participate in the lakefront investigation.

Approved 5-4 (including the item Suffredin objected to).

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A3 – Drexwood Partners lobbyist services contract

Reid says since council hasn’t decided its goal, lobbyist won’t know what to lobby for. Moves to table until have permanent city manager in place.

Mayor Daniel Biss says for a number of reasons, most importantly efficacy, don’t want lobbyist trying to affect bills on a regular basis — lot of it goes on and doens’t have much affect.

But need someone to lobby for us in relation to grant funding from federal and state government. Says a lot of funding is being made available right now. Says city has tried a lot of models over the years. But when have no help at all the city loses out on opportunities that it can’t afford to lose out on.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) still looking for the diversity firm that’s part of the contract.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) sees it as “intergovernmental affairs” role. Says city had an excellent intergovernmental affairs person on staff for about five years. Want someone out scanning the landscape about grants, etc. Say she supports the proposal.

Biss says the contract approach will cost half as much as having somebody on staff.

Reid says he plans to vote no.

Suffredin calls it “a really wise investment.”

Reid moves to hold the proposal. Braithwaite 2nds.

No motion to overrule the hold. So, it’s held to March 28 meeting.

A4 – SAFEbuilt inspection and plan review services contract

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) favors hiring a staff person rather than contracting it out.

Johanna Nyden, community development director, says city has been unable to successfully recruit for the position, especially in a strong development market.

Previous staff person had to retire after an accident.

SAFEbuilt has been used for years to back fill for staff. It’s a better option, she says.

Approved 9-0.

It’s now 7:20 p.m.

A6 – Garland/DBS civic center gutter repairs change order

Nieuwsma asks for big-picture overview of Civic Center relocation study.

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says draft report is expected in about six weeks. Council likely to see it late spring or early summer.

Biggs says a number of systems are at the end of their useful life.

Downspouts and gutters installed in 2010 — are out of warranty now.

Last week notices that the outside course of brick on one section of fourth floor is tilting outward, separating from the rest. Buildings of this age typically do not have the courses of bricks connected to each other. Problem may be result of water infiltration and freeze thaw cycle.

Later this week will have an architect and structural engineer inspect the situation.

Nieuwsma says building is falling apart.

Biggs says relatively little has been done to the building since 2000.

Kelly says if kept up with basic maintenance, would have to invest less in the building.

Approved 9-0.

At 7:30 p.m.

Call of the Wards

Braithwaite — says staff did a great job at the summer youth employment program session Saturday

Nieuwsma — next ward meeting Tuesday, April 5, 7 p.m. at Crown.

Burns — next ward meeting virtual on March 31, 7 p.m.

Revelle — virtual ward meeting Wednesday, March 23, NU plans for rebuild of Ryan Field.

Reid — virtual ward meeting Thursday, March 31, 6 p.m.

Geracaris — virtual ward meeting on March 26.

Kelly — this week’s ward meeting is postponed to TDB date next week.

Council votes at 7:40 p.m. to go into executive session.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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