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

The meeting is now scheduled to start at 8:10 p.m. It had originally been scheduled for 6:30 p.m., but council committee meetings ran longer than scheduled — and the P&D meeting was interrupted by a tornado warning.

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

Meeting called to order at 8:15 p.m.

Alds. Kelly and Wynne are absent.

Mayor Daniel Biss says he voted today — on the first day of early voting.

He reads proclamations declaring June LGBTQ+ month and June 19 Juneteenth Day.

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski praises the achievements of Karen Danczak Lyons on her retirement after a decade as director of the Evanston Public Library.

4th of July Association’s Hillary Bean tries to make a presentation about the group’s plans for next month’s celebration — but the technology fails.

H1 – JoAnn Avery Way — honorary street sign designation

Approved 7-0.

City clerk announces hours for early voting.

Public Comment

Janine Hill, chair of the McGaw YMCA, speaks in support of city funding for renovation of the Y’s men’s residence facility.

Special order of business

SP1 – COVID-19 vaccination and testing for council and committee meetings

Reid moves amendment. Burns seconds.

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says current state COVID rules may not match with Reid’s amendment. Reid agrees to withdraw that portion of the amendment.

Remaining items in the amendment:

  • Extend the period from 24 hours to 7 days for a negative test before the meeting

Heath Director Ike Ogbo regarding city coverage of COVID testing — says rules have until now required officials to cover their own cost. Ogbo asks where the money would come from to test elected and appointed officials.

In response to questions from Reid, Ogbo says the city doesn’t cover the cost of tests for city employees.

Reid’s amendment fails on vote of 1-6.

Ogbo says testing within 24 hours before indoor gathering is still recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Ogbo says if a council member isn’t in compliance, he informs that council member, but doesn’t pass on the information to anybody else.

Says haven’t fully discussed what the repercussions would be for a council member who didn’t comply.

Item — without any amendment — is approved 6-1.

Consent agenda

On consent: A1, A3-5, A7, P2, R1, AP1. Everything else off consent.

Consent agenda approved.

A2 – BMO Harris credit card activity

Approved 6-0-1. Suffedin abstains

A6 – Change order for civic center relocation study

Approved 6-1. Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) votes no.

P1 – Amendments to DAPR in city code

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) moves. Suffredin seconds.

Burns says he’d like to see the new format of the meetings recorded and posted to he city website.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) is asking whether staff is recommending adoption of the change.

Johanna Nyden, community development director, says now proposing to keep the review process — but remove the formal committee process.

Says staff is getting comments from council meetings that don’t want the staff to be taking formal positions on projects.

Braithwaite says DAPR gives citizens an early opportunity to engage with projects. Says many residents may be not understanding what the change involves.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says can’t understand how would provide video recordings of an informal meeting.

Nyden says some (bigger) proposals might get an “open house” treatment.

Kelley Gandurski, interim city manager, says wants to be careful not to promise what can’t deliver.

Says staff always needs to review projects — whether or not its at a public meeting. Have to tell the developers whether it does or does not meet city codes.

Says if there’s going to be a recording –then there’s going to need to be a meeting.

Mayor Biss notes that this is not up for final action tonight. Says he doesn’t think there’s a lot more to be accomplished on it tonight.

Approved for introduction 5-2. Braithwaite and Reid vote no.

HC1 – $3M ARPA funding for McGaw YMCA men’s residence renovation

Reid says he supports the proposal.

Suffredin asks where the $3M amount came from.

Sarah Flax, grants and housing manager, says the McGaw Y came up with the request amount. Says the YMCA has limited other sources of funds — because single-room-occupancy housing doesn’t qualify for most aid programs.

Total project cost is over $12M — most to be raised privately by the Y.

Says costs are not out of line — given the number of units involved. Says the city’s subsidy for the 60 unit Ann Rainey apartments was $33.4K per unit. This project works out to $19.2K city subsidy per unit.

Says there is a $3M request from Family Focus and $1M for a One Stop Shop project in the pipeline plus a possible housing funding request from Mt. Pisgah church and HODC.

Braithwaite says affordable housing is a key priority for the city. Says he’s 100% in support of the project.

Revelle says the project meets the criteria the city set for evaluating ARPA projects — including that the city contribution be no more than 25% of total project cost. Says she’s very enthusiastic about the project.

Nieuwsma says it’s in his ward and he fully supports the project.

Funding request approved 6-1. Suffredin votes no.

Call of the wards

Nieuwsma ,,, ward meeting July 5 at 7 p.m.

Burns .. .Virtual ward meeting last Thursday of the month 7 p.m.

Reid … Ward meeting last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Mulford viaduct.

Geracaris … Thursday 7 p.m. virtual ward meeting.

Council votes to go into executive session at 10:06 p.m. to discuss personnel, litigation and purchase or sale of real property.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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