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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee.

A packet with tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting convenes at 7:02 p.m.

Public Comment: Junad Ritzki: you're going to approve a 10 percent water rate increase tonight, but all the things they are planning you are not approving tonight, right? …Council needs to be clear on what it's approving tonight, and not a a 30 percent water increase over the next three years… Evanston residents will bear the cost of all of these things (in reference to proposed water capital improvements).

Director of Utilities David Stoneback: Our recommendation tonight it only for 10 percent increase effective Jan. 1…

Former Alderman of 4th Ward, Anny Heydemann reminds audience first night coming back on Dec. 31 for first time in five years… says they will be all around Raymond Park with five food trucks, lineup of people appearing is "really spectacular." What happens on first night, you buy a button, it starts in afternoon with kids program, and in the evening there are 6 or 7 things going on nearly all the time, musicians who sing, dancers and audience can participate in these things, dramatic groups and magicians and a whole array of entertainment going on…the button gets you into all of them (costs $15), she says.

People can pay extra, get wristband and receive reserved seats, she says. Price goes up the closer it gets to New Years Eve, goes to $18 and then $20, Heydemann says. But adds it's always a bargain because of all the events happening.

What is the point of first night, asks Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th ward. How much is the alcohol?

There is no alcohol, says Heydemann.

That's the point, says Rainey. So children actually stay?

They stay as long as their parents can stand them, says Heydemann. There won't be fireworks, can't do that, had them for many years but then it became impossible. There may be a parade at midnight, but I'm not sure yet.

Public comment concludes.

Minutes of Nov. 25 approved.

Payroll of $2.7 million approved.

City bills for FY2013 of $22 million approved, plus credit card activity of $150,000 approved. City bills extraordinary amount attributed to debt service payment of $17 million says Rainey.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th WArd moves approval of 2014 contract for G&L Contractors, Inc. for debirs hauling. Approved unanimously. 

Alderman Dolores Holmes, 5th Ward, moves approval of contract extension with Central Parking Systems, not to exceed $1.64 million for 2015 and $1.6 million for 2014. Approved unanimously. 

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, moves approval of water treatment plan master flow meter and chemical feed improvements, funding provided by water fund capital improvement account. 

Lara Biggs, superintendent of utilities: we originally bid the project for just the flow meter improvements for Evanston/Skokie and project came in much over budget, took it back to drawing board, reworked to eliminate equipment and downsize other equipment to make smaller in scope, out to bid again, hope it is more affordable. 

To isolate flow meter and pull it out, we put in different valves and there was more redundancy there than we thought we needed, used different static mixer, less expensive, because they went into prefabricated steel construction, made is smaller, because eliminated equipment was driving the size of the station…still have enough functionality we think we will be just fine and it will work very well. 

Recommended unanimously.

2013 Bond Issuance report.

Marty Lyons, assistant city manager: Evanston uses financial advisor and bond council…say we will provide report to governing board after issued debt to say we have in fact followed policies, before we would have come to you….this is a wrap up each year of how did we do with debt issuance.

Recommended unanimously.

Grover moves releasing certain closed session minutes.

Grant Farrar, city attorney: taking these to full council for review in closed session and then doing resolution in this setting tonight. If you want to go to rules committee, Alderman Rainey, instead, we can flip it.

Rainey: I think it would make more sense if under Rules Committee report presentation to council this is where it was. Next time. 

Recommended unanimously.

Review and adoption of 11 abatement resolutions:

Resolutions will decrease amount of 2013 property tax levy…generally abated debt amounts funded through sources other than property taxes…the city's total abatement for 2013 is $8.9 million, says Holmes.

Recommended to city council unanimously.

Items for discussion:

Gigabit Grant update:

Lyons: What you have before you is an update as to where we are in process of gigabit grant, received 999,000 grant in October, provided revised scheudle wherein begin process of designing infrastructre at Main and Chicago…major expenditures will come back as bids and any other process, if doing RFPs…large number of expenditures will be set up internet provider to host project itself. Working with Northwestern University to set up meeting…wait until have discussion with council then sitting down with NU…. funds are deposited into economic development fund and will be spent from that fund.

How will internet provider be chosen? asks Rainey.

We would do request for proposal, says Lyons… 

Rainey asks for list of providers.

Other smaller players…could be a large player or small player, want firm to manage services provided through the grant…says City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. 

Will the competition be hot or is it a small job? Rainey asks.

May not be hot but may be providers who want to offer additional things…may be opportunities to further leverage that, come back to you with RFP first detailing the type of questions that would be asked, Bobkiewicz says.

How will Evanston residents pay once everything is installed?

Part of RFP to identify that, we do not want to be in business of sending bills, want to find third party that does that and make sure rate is reasonable, Bobkiewicz says.

How does NU pay fair share? Rainey asks.

Mostly done promoting through city staff resources, moving forward any out of pocket costs shared with NU… 

Is this equal opportunity project, will we benefit as much as NU? Rainey asks.

It is clearly driven by us…Governor of Illinois reached out to us to say we think this would be important for your community…at end of the day both parties will benefit, says Bobkiewicz.

And we'll get a nice letter from NU saying how grateful they are? Rainey asks.

We'll make sure of that, says Bobkiewicz. 

Parking Meter Update:

Rick Voss, admin services: Working on process for a good number of months, finally come to conclusion to begin implementations. Put out survey in October…residents responded, 483 responded 69 percent in favor of single hit credit card meter vs. pay station. 

I told you, Rainey says.

Consensus is to install, with exception of 600 block of Clark, per request of Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st ward, move forward with single hit, credit card accepting meters on street, and use for now pay station in service lots that would be more beneficial… I have ability to begin installation on Dec. 16, says Voss.

Mark the spot so people not have to come back to car and get ticket? Rainey asks.

Yes, that's the object. 

You've been given direction to move forward as quickly as possible. Rainey says. 

Meeting adjourns at 7:33 p.m.

 

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