Here’s a recap of our live coverage of the Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

5:54 p.m. The meeting has just been called to order.

5:55 p.m. Payroll approved. Bills approved.

5:57 p.m.

A 3.1 – Engineering study for for potential pipeline to new wholesale water customers. Net cost to Evanston $21.4K. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she’s pleased that the bids came in close to each other. Contract approved.

5:59 p.m.

A 3.2 – $64K contract with Badger Meter for water meters. Approved.

6:00 p.m.

A 3.3 – $500K contract with Palatine Oil for fuel purchases. Rainey asks if is big difference in fuel prices for next six months versus the past. Lonnie Jeschke, fleet manager, says price varies based on spot market conditions. Says Palatine offered lowest markup. Rainey says where are the numbers to prove it. Jeschke say will get that information. Approved.

6:05 p.m.

A 3.4 – $140K contract with Infrastructure Management Services for pavement condition evaluation, Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks about evaluation process for the contract. Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says the contractor will evaluate all the primary routes and residential roads — look at the condition of roads, rate the quality of the pavement, which will tell staff which streets should be resurfaced first.

In response to a question from Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, Robinson says city doesn’t have the equipment to do the job itself.

Robinson says the city’s last five-year resurfacing plan actually took six years to complete.


6:08 p.m.

A 3.5 – $24K contract with PBR Chicago for emergency chimney repairs at Noyes Cultural Arts Center.

Rainey asks how this ended up being an emergency. Paul D’Augustino, of parks division, says the work was in the capital improvement program budget, for next year. Says the severity of this particular problem wasn’t identified until four months ago.


6:11 p.m.

A 3.6 – $578K contract with Pierce Manufacturing for a new replacement fire engine. Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says it’s a engine pumper that will also have emergency life support equipment. Approved.

6:13 p.m.

A 3.7 – $228K contract with Landscapeforms of Kalamazoo for street furniture. Approved.

6:14 p.m.

A 4 – $18K one year contract extension with Third Millennium Associates for utility bill printing and mailing.

Rainey wonders whether there isn’t a business in Evanston that could bid on this.


6:16 p.m.

A 5 – RFP for depository and other banking services. Approved.

6:17 p.m.

A 6 – $75K contract withKrivanek + Breaux for new public art for Sherman Plaza Garage.

They get an impromptu description of the project from the artist. Visuals for the project can be found in the packet for tonight’s meeting.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says she saw a demonstration of the project and was very impressed.


6:24 p.m.

A 7 – $300K addition to spending for Motor Fuel Tax Fund street resurfacing this year. Approved.

6:25 p.m.

A 8 – Letter of understanding for lease of 727-729 Howard Street to City Lit Theatre Company.

Background story on this. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says it’s taken extra time to prepare design drawings for the project.

Rendering of the possible theater design.

Johanna Nyden, city planner, says next step is to get estimates on the project and for the theater group to develop a fundraising plan.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says she’s impressed that the project has moved along this far in the almost 18 months since the city purchased the property.

Nyden, in response to question from Grover, says city has been working with Chicago to coordinate improvement projects.

Rainey says this project is more complex than the one in the 600 block of Howard, which is farther along — rehab work on residential units has already been done and contractor is about to be selected for the wine bar build out.

Rainey thanks volunteers who have worked on the theater project.


6:41 p.m.

A 9 – Contract to purchase 1801–1805 Church St.


6:42 p.m.

A 10  & A 11 – Sale of vacant city-owned lot at 1131 Sherman Ave. to adjoingin property owner for $30K.

Rainey asks whether city has to solicit bids on the property. City Attorney Grant Farrar says put notice out — publication in Evanston Review. Says there’s no further requirement to take highest bid, or otherwise.


6:44 p.m.

A 12 Approval of $16M in general obligation bond sales. Approved.

6:45 p.m.

A 13 – Liquor license for Terra restaurant at 2676 Green Bay Road. Approved.

6:48 p.m.

A 18 – Resolution regarding $2M in TIF-eligible expenses at the Evanston Plaza Shopping Center.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says this provides a more specific plan, to provide clarity about what TIF funds would be used for.

Bobkiewicz says staff sees the TIF as having two segments. First segment is between now and the conclusion of the Dominicks’s lease expires in 2020. Says Dominick’s has pattern around Chicago now of not renewing leases when they expire.

Says resolution just authorizes negotiation. Assuming TIF is approved by the council, staff would come back later with specific proposals.

Would be looking to borrow for that $2 million against future TIF revenue. Says don’t see any need to spend substantially more than that during the near-term period.

For the future wants to have the TIF in place, generating revenue that can be used to pay for future projects mostly from cash funds on hand.

Grover says she’s worried about potential future “food desert” on west side. Bobkiewicz says Dominick’s, owned by Safeway, doesn’t have a strong presence outside the immediate Chicago area — says could easily see them deciding to pull out.

Says it’s no longer Dominick’s and Jewel on every corner — they’re now facing competition from Whole Foods and Mariano’s.

Rainey says would like to plan on retaining them, rather than losing them. Could end up opening a store in a new format. Says hopes their arrogant response doesn’t turn us off to their tenure there.

Bobkiewicz says have reached out and essentially been rebuffed.

Holmes says she’s disappointed that Dominick’s hasn’t been interested in talking with the city, but we have to move ahead. Need something there that will bring more foot traffic and families.

Resolution approved.

7:01 p.m.

APW1 – Recycling center lease agrement with Evanston Sports Federation. Rainey asks for the item to be held.

Bobkiewicz says happy to wait until July 9. It’s on in part because of requests from Wilson, Grover and Rainey for an update.

Rainey complains that this has never been discussed with her. Says she totally opposes the use.

Committee agrees to hold the item.

APW2 – Cars parking too close

City Attorney Grant Farrar says asked to look into whether there are appropriate regulations in the state vehicle code, and what neighboring jurisdictions do. Says didn’t find any relevant statutes.

Rainey describes situation in which woman ended up with her car hemmed in over a holiday weekend. Police said no violation. Owners of other cars were away for the weekend. Police said couldn’t do anything.

Rainey says not looking for a fine — but a legal way to relocate one of the vehicles to the pinned-in car could move.

Farrar says towing car implicates due process rights of that owner — also question of which car is more at fault. Says he’s having a hard time thinking through an implementation scheme that wouldn’t create other issues.

Rainey says every problem has a solution. Do I need to go to Robyn Gabel (state rep) for this.

Farrar says that could be a good approach.

7:08 p.m.

Meeting adjourned. City Council to meet at 7:25 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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