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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 meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:05 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved.

Only three aldermen here tonight — Holmes, Rainey and Burrus. (Grover and Braithwaite are absent.)

A 3.1 – Agreement with CDM Smith for Reservoir and Clearwell Planning Study

Related story: Study to explore six water reservoir options

Utilties Director Dave Stoneback says want to look at all water storage facilities in a new report that would look at how to proceed with overall lifecycle evaluations to determine whether to repair or replace the reservoir.

Says repairs now could extend the life of the reservoir for perhaps 20 years. But would have to fully replace then … and borrowing costs are very low now — may be higher in 20 years.

Says storage capacity now is adequate in terms of total capacity — but not all that capacity is typically filled and not all the water can be pumped out.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, asks who brought the issue up? Stoneback says its the staff of the utilities department.

Public comment

Junad Rizki, 2784 Sheridan, says politics involved because it sits on Northwestern property. Says consultant report doesn't appear to indicate that need to expand the tank. Says moving the tank would require a 20 percent water bill increase, at least. Concerned about the impact on taxpayers.

Says city hasn't actually gotten any contracts to sell additional water — so doesn't need additional capacity.

Burrus says she's offended by allegations that Stoneback isn't doing what he's supposed to do. Suggests legal department should get involved. Says it's not fair to staff.

Richard Lanyon, 1019 Mulford., chair of the Utility Commission, favors the reservoir study. Says it will be money well spent to integrate the prior studies and provide guidance to the city on the replacement of this vital infrastructure.

Says the reservoir capacity is essential to a well-operated water system

Barbara Janes, 802 Colfax, says study is unnecessary shouldn't spend the money.

Says should just fix the reservoir roof. Says that lease with NU is in perpetuity and that city gave beach at the end of Lincoln Street in exchange for the lease.

Says proposed Leahy Park site would be ridiculous as a site for a new reservoir because it's heavily used. That's totally unacceptable, she says.

Says she doubts the other towns that supposedly are interested in buying water from Evanston will actually agree. Shouldn't spend more money until there's a commitment.

Feels like the city keeps funding studies until the studies say what the city wants to say.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she supports conducting the study.

Burrus asks whether NU has asked him to move the tank. Stoneback says no and that he anticipates that there will always be a city water reservoir on the NU property.

Assistant City Attorney says Burrus, despite being an NU employee, doesn't need to recuse herself.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says have to think beyond 20 years in terms of preserving our water system in the city.

Vote to recommend the study for approval by the City Council is unanimous.

A 3.2 – Tree purchase from suburban tree consortium. Approved.

A 3.3 – Contract with Sunrise tree service for Dutch elm injection program. Approved.

A 3.4 – Ford OEM prarts from Golf Mill Ford. Approved.

A 3.5 – Hot mix asphalt contract with Arrow Road Construction. Approved.

A 3.6 – Davis streetscape furniture pruchase from Landscapeforms. Approved.

A 4 and A 5 – Leases for apartments at 631 Howard St. Approved.

A 6 – License with Chiaravalle Montessori School for use of Currey Park for temporary mobile classrooms.

A 7 – Easement agreement for Chiaravalle through Currey Park.

School purchased the school building from the city a few years ago after leasing it from the city for several years. (The building had been a District 65 public school which closed and was sold to the city.)

Plan is to tear down the existing annex building and building a new, more efficient building in its place.

School attorney, Steve D. Friedland, says school plans to start construction in June. Expect to complete construction in August 2015.

Alderman Burrus says she's heard from staff at the school that they're getting parking tickets.

Approved (A 6 and A7)

A 8 – Revenue bonds for Chiaravalle.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says the proposal is to refinance existing bonds at a new, lower interest rate, and new bonds for $2.93 million. Lyons says the conduit financing bonds will have the city's name on them — but the city has no financial liability for them.

Provides lower financing costs than going through the state financing agency.

Approved.

A 9 – Four-way stop at Broadway and Jenks. Approved.

A 10 – Class P-1 Liquor license (Off agenda for tonight)

A 11 – A 12 Liquor license change for La Macchina Cafe, 1620 Orrington. (That's pronoucned Lah Mah-Kee-Nah, says the owner.) Approved.

A 13 – A 14 Liquor license change for Ward Eight at 629 Howard. Approved.

A 15 – Sketchbook Brewing license (Off agenda for tonight.)

A 16 – Recognizing the cessation of Evanston Township and codifying the city's assumption of duties and obligations of Evanston Township.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, moves to delete the hiring of a substitute for the township assessor. Says doesn't think city needs to be providing tax assistance (because others — like County Commissioner Suffreden — provide the same service).

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says Illinois General Assembly approved plan for taking over the township that includes taking over the township assessor's duty.

Says the township had an elected assessor and two full-time positions for it. Says he's now proposing one part-time position instead.

Rainey suggests that the city instead provide funding for Suffredin's service.

Bobkiewicz says as supervisor he's come to appreciate the value of the service provided by the assessor's office.

Rainey says the city shouldn't take on the burden of insurance and pension obligations for another employee.

Ordinance approved 2-1. Rainey votes no.

A 17 – Creation of city General Assistance Fund

Approved.

Meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.

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