Here’s a recap of our live coverage of Monday night’s meeting of the Evanston City Council.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:50 p.m.
A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.
Meeting called to order at 5:57 p.m.
Council Members Bobby Burns and Tom Suffredin are absent
Mayor announces National Suicide Prevention and Action Month in September and National Diaper Need Awareness Week, Sept. 18-23. And notes 22nd anniversary of 9/11 and ceremony held in Evanston this morning.
City manager introduces new disability services coordinator, Lauren Ruiz, who provides an update on the city’s disability services programs.
City manager has Public Health Manager Greg Olsen discuss rat control efforts.
Only one speaker tonight.
Off consent: A2, A4, A8, HS1, R1, FB2, AB2.
Rest of consent agenda approved.
A2 – Jasco Electric contract for James Park athletic lighting
A4 – Contract with Drexwood Partners for lobbyist services
Reid says city isn’t getting value from the contract.
Mayor Daniel Biss says they’ve generated at $1 million grant for Beck Park and $600,000 for the Living Room program.
Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says thinks should have a grant writer on staff.
Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says mayor has persuaded him to vote for the contract, but says he agrees with Kelly that city should have an on-staff grant writer.
A8 – AFSCME contract
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says there’s a typo in the contract — should say that overtime minimum is 4 hours, not 2 hours.
Reid praises agreement as fair for workers.
Amendment to change the OT minimum approved 7-0. Amended contract approved 7-0.
HS1 – Fair workweek ordinance effective date extension to 1/1/24
Reid complains about city manager having changed the effective date administratively. But says appears have to extend the effective date because some rules are still being written.
Original effective date was Sept. 1.
Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) says need to think about these things before passing ordinances.
Says hopes colleagues will agree if they’re in favor of businesses staying here.
Reid says in the future should provide a six month period between passage and implementation.
R1- Public funding of mayor elections
Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) moves adoption of substitute version of the ordinance recommended by city staff.
Amendment approved 6-0. (Harris is absent for this vote.)
Kelly asks whether unspent money would carry over to next election cycle.
Biss says hypothetically, if there were uncontested mayoral elections for several cycles might build up quite a balance. So do want to cap it?
Alisa Kaplan, of Reform for Illinois, says council could modify the ordinance in the future to address that.
Nieuwsma says ordinance provides for review by Council after each election cycle.
Reid says wants to only match funds for low income residents — otherwise it could increase the power of already wealthy residents, he says.
David Melton, chair of the board of Reform for Illinois, says there’s a risk that that idea is unconstitutional.
In response to question from Reid Melton says he thinks rebating contributions would likely be found by a court to be illegal, but concedes that there’s nothing specific in the ordinance to bar that.
Reid says this is generally seen as progressive policy, but doesn’t think this is the most equitable way possible to provide public funding of elections. Won’t encourage low-propensity voters to participate, he says, and policy will end up being subsidized by low-income voters.
Biss says in an equal protection world the maximum contribution of a voter would be a small fraction of the donations allowed now.
Approved 5-1. Reid votes no. (Harris is absent.)
FB2 – Mid-year financial report
CFO Hitesh Desai makes presentation.
General fund balance as of June 30 was $55 million, or 43% of budgeted expenses.
Clayton Black, budget manager, says anticipates end-of-year general fund revenues will be $10 million to $13 million over budget. But with higher spending a lot of that excess will be spent. Black says $49 million to $52 million is projected end-of-year fund balance.
Appears that could have $20M in extra expenses for next year, Black says.
Biss says city faces a lot of upcoming funding challenges. Says that while balances look good now there’s a lot of sober concerns in the future.
Says will have to make hard decisions and shouldn’t kick them down the road.
AP2 – Reappointment of David Schoenfeld to NU/City Committee
Mayor asks for suspension of the rules regarding term limits. Revelle moves Wynne seconds.
Biss says he wants to modernize the committee appointment process. Says not done addressing those issues, but have made a lot of progress.
Says may need a couple more rules suspensions for similar issues soon, but wants to generally reduce them.
Reid says he thinks the appropriate procedure would be to change the rule. Says a lot of people may want to be reappointed and two terms isn’t a magic number.
Motion to suspend the rule approved 4-1-1. Reid votes no. Geracaris abstains.
Revelle says she’s sympathetic to Reid’s point. How long is the reappointment for? He’s been on the committee for 20 years, she says. This committee probably benefits from having members with a long history on the issues.
Biss says two things make a yes vote here important. First I was unaware of the term limit and offered to reappoint him. And there is a lot of attention to a concrn about this committee right now. Think that’s overdone and some of the concerns are unfounded. But that doesn’t change that fact that the concerns are out there. So booting somebody who’s been on the committee would not improve community understanding.
Kelly says the ordinance establishing the NU/City Committee does not provide for a limit on committee member’s terms — its silent on the issue.
(It appears his term expired last May.)
Confirming the appointment is approved 4-1-1. Reid votes no. Geracaris abstains.
Call of the wards
Mayor notes that Harris had to leave the meeting, was feeling ill. Says she plans to reschedule this week’s ward meeting.
Reid … ward meeting last Thursday of month (Sept. 28) Location TBD.
Council votes to go into executives session to discuss workers compensation and minutes review. Public meeting ends at 8:25 p.m.