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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

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

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

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

Meeting called to order at 6:08 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved.

A3.1 – Contract for Civic Center parking lot reconstruction $1.4M to A Lamp Contrete.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says she raised concerns about a subcontactor, Ozinga, and its challenge to the affordable care act.

Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says the Supreme Court action in the Hobby Lobby decision appears to govern the issue.

Grover says while she finds Ozinga's policies objectionable, she doesn't think it's worth making an issue of, given that Ozinga's participation amounts to only 1 percent of the contract.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says Ozinga is a local business, which generally gets preferences in contract awards. Makes reference to Rules Committee regarding the issue.

Farrar says he's been trading voice mails with Ozinga's general counsel — hasn't been able to have a discussion with.

Contract approved.

A 3.2 – Contract with Consturction Consulting & Disbursement Services for minor improvements to Chandler-Newberger Center. Approved.

A 3.3 – Contract with KLF Enterprises for debris and leaf hauling. Approved

A 3.4 – Connelly's Academy services agreement for martial arts instruction at Levy Center. Approved.

A 3.5 – Sheridan-Chiocago engineering services with Christopher B. Burke Engineering. Approved.

A 4.1 – Sheriadn Road water main improvement project change order. Approved.

Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says original project didn't envision replacing water main that's now been added to the project.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says had already let the engineering services contract before city decided to add the water main project. Says personnel are qualified and pricing is competitive.

Approved.

A 4.2 – Change order for manhole lining. No change to $133.6K  original contract amount. Delay because of unexpected cold weather. Approved.

A 5 – Approval of Downtown Evanston 2015 budget request.

Presentation on this item here.

The organization is requesting just under $200K in city contributions. (That's down from roughly $236K this year.)

The request is in addition to $323K in tax revenue from the special service area for downtown. The tax levy has declined over the past several years from $398K in 2012.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asks whether attendance was down for tree lighting this year because of the move to Saturday.

Annie Coakley, executive director of Downtown Evanston, says appears there was some decrease. Says has info from American Express, which sponsors the Small Business Saturday concept nationwide, that it's getting increasing traction.

Approved.

A 6 – Grant agreement with Youth Organizations Umbrella, under which YOU shares a portion of a grant it has received for youth outreace services. Approved.

A 7 – First Night Evanston funding request.

Stuart Rosenberg of First Night says last year attracted about 3K participants. Try for more eclectic, diverse program for this year.

Burrus suggest changing the $6K request for buttons to give to non-profits — suggests doing it on a reimbursement basis.

Rosenberg says is trying to make more compelling event in metro area — which requires increase in amount being paid artists — to get higher quality talent.

Says last year, with larger contribution city were able to give buttons away to groups that requested them.

Burrus says city gives so much money to the non-profits — like Peer Services and Connections for the Homeless — that she's concerned about giving more to them.

Grover says the aid is going to individual residents, just funneled through the agencies.

Says there may be better ways to get the subsidized passes to the people who need them — but should go ahead and do it this year.

Rosenberg says wants to make the event as inclusive as possible.

Rainey says the value of the button is the cost to produce it. Coming to First Night costs nothing extra. Says the number of people who show up doesn't effect the cost. So the cost of the button — giving them to the agencies is nothing.

"I don't see why," she says. Really all you're doing is giving us $5K to support the event. Understand that. If need $5K to support it, just ask for it.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says when group comes back in January would like to see more details on the budget. Encourages use of local vendors.

Rosenberg says main expense is talent and have a big representation of Evanston-based talent in the event.

Burrus says she has problems with the $5K when group's overall budget has about doubled this year.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, suggests asking local talent to volunteer their services.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says has been concerned about budget detail for the event. Says concerned about how late the request arrived.

Bobkiewicz says discussions began in August, but didn't get request until last week. Says it's a great event and that if $5K makes sense, should approve it and then start discussions for next year earlier.

Approved 4-1 with Burrus voting no.

A 8 – Approval of 2014 Post Bond Issuance Report. Approved.

A 9 – Lease with Latino Resources for Civic Center ground floor office space.

Elena Garcia Ansani, executive director of the group, says the office will be a center for civic engagement for the Latino community.

Approved.

A 10.1 – 10.12 – General obligation debt property tax abatement resolutions.

Approved.

A 11 – Dempster traffic signal modernization project engineering. $118K. Approved.

A 12 – Sheridan/Forest signal modernization project engineering. $96K. Approved.

A 13 – Decreasing liquor license count to account for closure of Buffalo Wild Wings. Approved.

A 14 – Lease of 633 Howard police outpost to Chris Casas for coffee shop.

Chris Casas says new shop would add retail cafe element to his existing Coffee Speed Shop coffee roasting operation on Greenleaf Street.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says used to have to beg people to come to Howard Street, says Chris approached the city about this opportunity. "Can't tell you how welcome you are and the community is just thrilled," Rainey says.

Says building was built many years ago as an orthodox synagogue, before it became the police outpost. So it's never been on the tax rolls — getting it on the tax rolls is great she says.

Grover says this will make Howard an all-day destination.

She says the two businesses the city has supported already — Ward Eight and Peckish Pig — have been wildly successful.

Casas says he's lived in Evanston 15 plus years. Says wants to focus on providing quality coffee in Evanston.

Approved.

A 15 – Lease of 745 Howard for new police outpost site.

Rainey says the building — two owners ago — was the site of the original Howard Street police outpost. City ended up being evicted after it refused to pay rent because of roach problems. Says conditions with new landlord are much better.

Related story

Approved.

A 16 – City purchase of former Boocoo building at 1823 Church St.

Related story

Approved.

Discussion item

Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay intersection project.

Presentation available online.

City Engineer Sat Nagar says the presentation is what was presented at a public meeting late in October.

Project website with project details here.

Nagar says only 18 percent of online survey respondents preferred the full cul-de-sac option for Green Bay north of Emerson.

One way northbound on Green Bay option was supported by 24 percent of the respondents.

Third option — three-lane cross section on Green Bay (one lane north one lane south and one left turn lane). Has least amount of parking loss of the three options. Also, as other options, would improve from "D" to "B." He says 62 percent of survey respondents favored this option.

Says consultants conclude that the three-lane configuration can handle the traffic and provide more green space and better bus stop configurations along Green Bay.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says it will be a big improvements, especially for bus riders — says now people end up having to stand in the street.

Grover says may be a learning curve for the community about why don't need so many lanes.

Holmes says syncing the lights will improve the traffic flow to make the lane configuration more feasible.

Nagar says of the options for improving the railroad viaduct … hanging garden … to art deco styling. Says will have further meetings on that … as well as considering what to do with other Metra viaducts in town.

Meeting adjourned at 7:27 p.m.

Planning and Development meeting to start about 7:40 p.m.

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