Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, tried to take a $100,000 bite out of funds to renovate the city’s animal shelter on Monday and spend it instead on his pet project, affordable housing.

A volunteer group, Community Animal Rescue Effort,  has agreed to raise half the $950,000 needed for the renovation project and aldermen agreed during their budget workshop earlier this year to come up with the other half.

C.A.R.E. “has considerable fundraising capacity,” Ald. Moran said. “If they can raise $475,000, they can probably raise $575,000.”

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said that for the aldermen to go back on the promise to match the private fundraising “is just the most outrageous proposal you’ll probably make tonight, Ald. Moran.”

She said the group’s volunteers “commit hours and hours a week to the shelter. If they pulled out, we’d either have to hire staff to run the shelter or close it.”

“To pit the animal shelter against affordable housing is really scraping the bottom of the barrel,” Ald. Rainey added.

Ald. Moran failed to get a second on his motion and the fund transfer to pay for the animal shelter project was ultimately approved unanimously.

The council Monday also approved $180,000 to rehabilitate 24 units of affordable housing in three buildings in the 2000 block of Wesley Avenue and two requests totalling $114,500 from the Citizen’s Lighthouse Community Land Trust. That money would provide operating funds for the trust and help buy a single family home out of mortgage foreclosure for use as affordable housing.

In other business the aldermen:

* Introduced an ordinance to extend for 12 years the life of the special service area taxing district that funds the downtown marketing group EvMark.

* Introduced an ordinance approving construction of a tunnel under Davis Street to connect the two new buildings planned by Mather Lifeways. Alderman Cheryl Wollin, 1st Ward, said construction of the tunnel will likely close Davis Street for up to six months.

* Approved a $3 million contract with A. Lamp Concrete Contractors for various street repaving projects.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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