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

The meeting is now scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:34 p.m.

Mayor Daniel Biss promotes the Thursday town hall discussion with Carol Mitten, the candidate for city manager. Also upcoming, National Night Out on the lakefront on Aug. 2.

Special orders of business

SP1 – 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Martha Trotter and Dane Burke of audit firm Sikish present report.

Notes that city has received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting.

Says the city got “clean, unmodified” assurance on financial statements — the highest level an auditor can provide.

Council votes to accept the report and place it on file. More discussion expected at the next Finance and Budget Committee meeting.

SP2 – Service Center facility evaluation/strategy discussion

Senior Project Manager Stefanie Levine says the center houses all the equipment for field operations by the city.

Related story.

Reid asks for comparison of financial options between selling the recycling center and building a new storage facility in James Park.

Levine says need to get more information about condition of the Recycling Center building to be able to fully assess that. Lara Biggs, city engineers, says Recycling Center may end up being a temporary location for housing dogs while the new animal shelter is being built.

Nieuwsma says need to go “all in” with CARP goals — given climate emergencies that are happening all over the world these days.

Interim Deputy City Manager Dave Stoneback says there are no other funding sources except general obligation bonds for these projects.

Kelly says need to allocate more money to maintenance in the future so can maintain buildings better.

Stoneback says next step would be getting a cost analysis on the recycling center. Hope to get that done by Sept. 12 meeting. Then need to get the fuel pumps replaced.

Consent agenda

Off consent because they didn’t make it out of committee: P2, P4, A15.

Other items removed to be voted on individually: CM1, A3, A5, A16-18, P5, H4-H6.

Consent agenda approved.

CM1 – Minutes

Interim Corporation Counsel says city is late approving all these minutes already. (More than a dozen meetings involved.) Says February meeting minutes should have been approved in March. And some litigation has been started regarding OMA violations.

A3 – Beck Park expansion project

Council votes to use general fund reserves rather than general obligation bonds to fund the project. Project as amended is approved.

A5 – Poplar Avenue street and parking lot improvements

Kelly says some neighbors want a community meeting.

Stoneback says if delay will start getting into weather concerns over the winter.

Approved 5-1.

A16-A18 — Liquor licenses

For movie theater at 1715 Maple, and restaurants at 1633 Orrington and 1729 Sherman.

Approved for introduction and action.

P5 – Design and Project Review Committee restructuring

Burns moves to table to Sept. 12 meeting.

Motion to table approved.

H4 – Amend code regarding general offenses.

Would change penalty for attempting to purchasing liquor or cannabis to a ticket and fine.

Approved 6-0.

H5 – Amend code regarding general offenses

Would remove the violation for underage people (persons under 19 years old) knowingly in a place where alcohol is being served to persons underage.

Chief Richard Eddington says change would take a tool out of the toolbox — doesn’t use it often — but don’t want to use the tool.

Reid claims the “presence” provision criminalizes people who are doing the “right thing” — not drinking. Says it’s “over-policing” — that should be the responsibility of parents to tell their kids not to attend parties where liquor is being served.

Records indicate there have been three arrests for this in the past several years.

Nieuwsma says this really applies to high school students and some college freshmen.

Says as somebody who has kids who will be in high school before too long, he thinks police should have this tool available.

Burns says should refer this to the alternatives to arrest committee.

Wynne says she’s only person on dais who has had teenagers — is happy police have this tool as a way to discourage underage drinking.

Reid moves to refer the issue to the alternatives to arrest committee.

Burns seconds.

Mayor says that committee exists but isn’t currently populated.

Tie vote 3-3. (Reid, Burns and Geracaris vote yes.) Mayor breaks the tie to send it to the committee.

H6 – Pedestrians under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Wynne says it has language that is too vague.

“without adequate assistance to reasonably mitigate the hazard.”

Moves to strike that phrase.

Nieuwsma seconds.

Nieuwsma says Wynne’s motion would make it illegal to walk down the street drunk. Says “I should be able to walk home.”

Reid says the existing ordinance makes it illegal to walk down the street while drunk.

Wynne says what’s barred is someone who’s making themselves a hazard.

Reid moves to refer the proposal to the alternatives to arrest committee.

Burns seconds that.

Vote ties 3-3. Mayor breaks tie with yes vote, sending it to the committee.

Call of the wards

Reid says will likely have to reschedule the ward meeting because of the city manager town hall on Thursday.

Wynne says Thursday’s ward meeting will be rescheduled.

Kelly … 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday online regarding the 18-story 1629 Chicago Ave. project.

Council votes at 10:25 p.m. to go into executive session.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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