Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.
Meeting called to order, minutes approved, payroll approved.
Now discussing questions about the bills list.
Information on tonight’s agenda items can be found online here.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, moves to strike payment of $50 to Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson for entry fee in the Fourth of July parade. Says that’s not a reimbursible expense.
Bills list approved with that amendment
A3.1 – Purchase of Arbotect fungicide from Rainbow Treecare. $41K. Approved. (For Dutch Elm tree injections.) Paul D’Agostino, forestry director, says tree loss is up slightly this year because of hot weather, but fungicide is continuing to dramatically reduce losses.
A3.2 – Contract for Civic Center ADA east entry project
Rainey asks who would actually use the entry?
Stephanie Levine, of facilities department, says it will serve anyone coming off Ridge Avenue. Says there’s a paved walkway to that point now, but steps prevent access for peole in wheelchairs.
Project cost $530K.
Rainey says that existing ADA entryway on west side of building is the most disgusting she’s ever seen.
Says just doesn’t understand spending so much on front entrance, when everybody these days goes in the back — where the disabled parking is, the Pace bus stops, etc.
Levine says are required to provide accessible entrance on this facade of the building. Says will have to check to provide further details.
Levine says the main entrance on the east side of the building is more complicated — because it has separate sets of stairs inside and outside of the building.
Rainey says she believes will end up having to do it — but wants to know how many people will actually use it afterward.
Approve 4-1. Rainey votes no.
A3.3 – Church Street improvement project contract. Approved.
A3.4 – 2012 alley paving program contract. Approved.
A3.5 – Purchase of four replacement vehicles. $420K. Approved.
Includes an ambulance and a Zamboni for the Robert Crown ice rink.
A4 – Water Utility motor control center replacement change order. Approved.
A5 – ‘Evanston Roadmap for the Arts’ funding request.
$25K for research on improving environment for the arts in town. Will include a series of focus group sessions.
Judy Kemp of Evanston Community Foundation says this project will cover arts across the whole city, not just downtown.
A6 – FY 2011 audited annual financial report. Approved.
A7 – Liquor license for Found Restaurant, 1631 Chicago Ave.
Former site of Gio restaurant. Approved.
APW1 – Recycling Center lease agreement with Evanston Sports Federation
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says discussions continue.
Rainey says looks like only thing settled is that they’ll accept a $1 a year lease for 25 years. Nothing else seems to be settled.
Bobkiewicz says continue to be a couple of sticking points — storage for boats and recreation vehicles. Issue regarding cost of that. Have talked about adding a storage shed at the site. But don’t believe that will solve all the storage needs. Also been ingress-egress issues for traffic.
Says some informal conversations with council members have suggested that $1 a year isn’t the appropriate amount — trying to work through that.
Hope to have final proposal for council to consider in September.
Rainey says that we would give a way a building for $1 a year for 25 years is an outrage, will never support it and will work to defeat it.
Says deals on Howard Street have been lease to own.
Says building needs to be on the tax rolls, be a fair rent with a lease to own and that it be a for-profit operation.
Should put out a proposal like did with 1817 Church St. to see who’s out there who would like to compete for the use of the property.
Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asks questions about deal points as well.
Bobkiewicz says his understanding was that council wanted an agreement that was as advantageous to the sports groups as possible. Says it want to change that, certainly can.
Holmes says she agrees wtih Rainey — says she’d never agree to $1 a year for the facility. Says has many other sticking points.
Says also need to look at Robert Crown as a possible site for a facility like this.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks whether sports groups have a budget for the buildout.
David Campbell, president of Evanston Baseball, says have been working with an architect. Says expects buildout to cost $500K to $700K — which would be paid for by the sports groups.
Says plans are to be able to cover maintenance costs that occur with normal use, but believe city as landlord would cover roof repairs, and some other items.
Campbell says lease would be 7 ot 10 years… and city would have buyout option so it could terminate lease in shorter term. Says capital coming in would be community capital from families to play sports.
Rainey objects to Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, speaking on the issue.
Grover says husband is a former member of the Evansotn baseball Softball Association
City Attorney Grant Farrar says its premature for him to give any advice on the issue. Recommends referring it to the board of ethics.
Grover and Rainey agree on referring it to the Board of Ethics.
Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, says concerned about “most advantageous deal” for this group. Says it’s alarming that this would be a huge cost for the city.
Says can’t imagine how would want to add additional cost for storage …possible maintenance costs for the building. We’re at such a budget shortfall — have been laying off people.
Asks how can possibly justify this in this community at this time in our fiscal situation.
Asks why wouldn’t send it out for an RFP rather than add a line item to the budget for this group.
Campbell says groups have said from day one that this will not be a cost to the city. Says very aware of fiscal constraints that the city is under.
Burrus says that roof maintenance will be cost to the city. $1 a year is really not going to cover our costs.
What about revenue sharing with the city, she asks? Could be a win-win for both organizations.
Says she was shocked to see the terms of this — considering what are going through with the Evanston Arts Center and other organizations.
Campbell says groups are bringing over $1 million of capital to the city.
Rainey says she thinks it’s premature to discuss. Need to go some place and figure it out. We don’t know enough to continue to talk about.
Grover says also should get projections from sports associations about their financials for the project.
Rainey asks why decision made to not have this be for-profit and why it shouldn’t be on the tax rolls.
Campbell says as for-profit venture it would be cost-prohibitive for certain population segments in the community.
Burrus says can’t afford to spend so much money on one group when not getting costs back. What’s our ROI? Says it’s really tough to go out to taxpayers and say we’re going to give away an asset.
Bobkiewicz says it didn’t go out to an RFP because that was the vote of the council.
Bobkiewicz says he’s looking for more direction from the council about what its goals are for the projects.
APW2 – Rodent control report .
Rainey says she thinks the report was excellent, and that should carry out the recommendations.
In response to question to Grover, Carl Caneva of the health department says the additional cost could be a few hundred dollars a month.
Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says city should have to finance a rental building’s rodent control.
Says there’s a problem with rats that live along the lakefront during the summer — and then move inland during the winter. Says is special problem for condos — where one building may get cleaned up, but they just move down the alley.