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Recap: Evanston City Council

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

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

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., but was delayed because the council committee meetings ran long.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:25 p.m.
All aldermen present except Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward.
Mayor Steve Hagerty is chairing the meeting.

Mayor’s announcements
Mayor mentions Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day today.
Announces Mental Health Awareness Week, Oct. 4-10. Suggests calling 311 for information on mental health resources.
Announces World Polio Day .. coming up Oct. 24. Polio eradication effort headed up by Rotary International, headquartered here in Evanston.

Regarding manager search, mayor says hopes to have announcement of new manager tomorrow. Says had three excellent candidates. Vote on new manager’s contract would be taken next Monday.

City manager announcements
Problem properties update
Community Development Director Johanna Nyden says are working on coordinated response from multiple departments to give problem properties additional attention.
Property maintenance and other departments are meeting with landlords. Hopes will be effective in avoiding need to go to court or administrative adjudication.
Notes that adding another property maintenance inspector is part of the 2021 proposed budget.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, asks what city is doing to keep neighbors informed about what’s happening.

Nyden says are working on an informational piece about the enforcement steps.

City Clerk Communications
Clerk Devon Reid announced that early voting starts Oct. 19. More info online.

Public Comment
16 speakers 2:50 each.

Public comment ends at 7:35 p.m.

Special orders of business

SP1 – CARES Act amendment
About $500K additional funding on top of original $1.08M
Approved 8-0

SP2 – 2020 Budget Update
Interim Manager Erika Storlie introduces presentation by Hitesh Desai and Kate Lewis-Lakin.
(But they have technical difficulties, so Storlie does the presentation
Storlie says the city still looking at a $12 million revenue shortfall.
Says the $1.6M surplus from last year helped… but still expect to be $2.1M short at end of this year
Says plan to put $1M back into fund balance next year.

Desai comes back online and picks up the presentation….
Says expenses this year are down by 6% from last year as of August… or $4.2M

Says the city has a $15M line of credit available from Byline Bank — but has not used it.

Lewis-Lakin says the city has received $1.4M of the expected $4.5M in COVID-19 federal funding. Does expect to get the rest.

Mayor says good news that have gotten full amount of property tax — no loss because of the pandemic. (Came in a little later than usual, because of delay in tax payment deadline.)

Consent agenda

Removed from consent agenda:
Sufferdin requests: A2, A4, A9
Nothing removed from P&D
CM3 minutes off
A7 failed to pass in APW, so not for action here.

Motion to approve on consent agenda
A8 suspension of rules to introduce and act on this item.
Suspension of rules approved 8-0
Consent agenda approved 8-0.

CM3 – Minutes 9/29/20
Revelle moves amendment of minutes. Says item A5 was dropped in committee so was not on Council agenda.
Amendment approved 8-0. Minutes as amended approved 8-0.

A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 7-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A4 – Extending declared state of emergency to Nov. 9
Kelley Gandurski, city attorney, says timing it to keep in sync with the governor’s state of emergency order.
Approved 8-0.

A9 – Allowing parking on parkways
Suffredin suggests amending it to ban parking within 25 feet of an intersection, because that could make stop signs difficult to see.
Mike Rivera, interim parking manager, says typically don’t allow vehicles to park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, so not a bad idea.
Fiske says she’s opposed to parking on parkways — makes harder to see bicylists — says in her ward it would raise more problems than it would solve.
Rue Simmons says the proposal would help in her neighborhood — says was requested by neighbors in the area. Supports Suffredin’s amendment.
Rainey says in her ward doesn’t seem there are any parkways deep enough to provide for parking a car. (But later says she’ll support the ordinance despite that.)
Rivera says parkways in southwest and northwest Evanston and some other areas could be used. Also provides a way to get cars off streets on street cleaning days and during snow emergencies.
Says if vehicle doesn’t fit it would be cited.
Suffredin’s amendment carries 8-0.
Ordinance as amended is approved 7-1. Fiske votes no.

A12 – Amending the amusement tax
Storlie says the basic ordinance went into effect on Oct. 1. This proposal clarifies some of its provisions, she says. Says the tax rate is 5%.
Approved 6-1-1. Fiske votes no. Suffredin abstains. (Suffredin says one of his clients has an interest in the matter.)

Call of the Wards
Rue Simmons — ward meeting Wednesday … discussing parking in west end neighbohrood, Church Street, McDaniel and Leland.
Suffredin — 6th ward meeting Thursday 7 p.m.
Rainey — construction started today on the 60 unit senior affordable housing project on Howard Street.
Fiske — 1900 Sherman project will be before the Plan Commission Monday night.
Wynne — town hall Thursday, Oct. 22.
Wilson — ward meeting 7p Thursday — Vogue property development on the agenda.

No executive session tonight.

Meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

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