Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz is asking aldermen to approve spending $150,000 as part of next year’s budget to buy a “mobile city hall vehicle.”

Asked for more detail about the project, Bobkiewicz responded that what he has in mind is something like Boston’s “City Hall to Go” step van pictured above.

He says the Evanston version is “intended to bring information and services to the community” in cooperation with the Evanston Public Library “reaching out to residents where they live and play.”

He suggests that the library would “create pop-up learning labs, transport story-times and crafts with ease and have a distinctive, easy to identify mobile presence throughout the city.”

And he says the city could use it as part of its age-friendly initiative. “As more and more residents age-in-place, the vehicle can come to residents to provide services normally rendered at city hall.

He says the $150,000 proposed cost would include the buying the vehicle and equipping it with laptop computers, internet connectivity and tables chairs and mats that would be setup outside.

Bobkiewicz says the idea is to have “more of an outside of the vehicle setup rather than a walk-up counter” as used in the Boston version.

He didn’t mention it, but Evanston is unlikely to be promoting the bottled water shown in the Boston photo — since it’s pushing use of the city’s own tap water.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Spending is getting out of control

    What the heck is going on at the Civic Center?  They just toured several city buildings that are in dire need of repair which we will be paying for.  And now Wally wants $150K to spend on something frivilous?

    Gee is there someone, anyone watching the enormous spending that is occurring lately? Will it take a lot of people to move out of Evanston because they cannot afford to pay their property taxes anymore because the City of Evanston is purchasing things that are not needed?

    By the way, the $150K is just to purchase the items, there is no mention on how much it will cost to employ people, purchase of gas, maintenance and insurance.

    Come on people — the City of Evanston is not paying for it — we are out of our property taxes and I guarantee you – this will be increasing a lot since the Library wants to spend more money too. 

  2. They could have more than doubled bike share kiosks instead

    This is the most idiotic thing I've heard of.  There is no point in town that is more than 3.5 miles from the Civic Center.  There is no point in town that is more than a mile from a library, branch, or outpost.

    A better idea would be to expand public transport by increasing the capacity of the proposed bike share scheme.  With this money they could have 20 Divvy stations throughout town, making nobody more than 1/3 mile from a kiosk which they could then use to bike to city hall or a library.


  3. Wally needs help

    Is Wally on drugs? With the city needing to spend millions on infostructure, Wally wants to spend on nice to have but not anywhere close to needed. I think periodic drug tests on the mayor, city manager, city council is needed a lot more and should be performed by an independent organization at least 2 times a year. The citizens need to know that the city leaders have the mental capacity to spend the tax payer's money. Over the last couple of years, they have been on shaky grounds.

    Like the government in Washington, the people of Evanston are losing confidence in their leaders.


  4. Public officials and Wally know few Care!

    Recently a public official told me few care what we do.  Ofcourse alot of people cared when they tried to sell Harley Clarke.  The moblie city hall is more of Wally trying to expand his PR machine.  Wally glutted the public cable service and add a entire crew of PR employees under him at City Hall. We are still getting charged for the cable fee.

    They are good at hiding it, anyone who thinks they will run the township better, may be kidding themselves, they already took hundreds of thousands of dollars for social service programs that have nothing to do with the township.  Wally also now runs it, but is using a city employee for its day to day operations, it is unclear if she is being double paid?   Or how she is actually servicing the city and the township.

    The Health Center which is about to open, no city money used think again, the dollar rent deal, and how was the space renovated?  The council does not have to approve small expensives under $20,000, you better believe money was quietly taken for the Health Center use.  The mayors pet project, which appears to have very low use.

    One Capital project not discuss in the story here is a renovation of fire station 2 – to completely rebuilt a 20 year old kitchen, which currently has what looks like a viking range and is the size of small apartment, more waste of our tax dollars, I think even a few council members on the tour raised their eyes to this one!

    Then there is my favorite, the Mismanaged water department that wants a 10% increase again claiming capital projects, except at the meeting on capital projects they did not even present their projects, and we now have them claiming they need a new water tank,  Moody's rated them high so what! They have the ability to keep on raising your water rates.  For almost  a year now I have been asking them to show us their profit or LOSS with each customer they claim its all in the finanical documents, my analysis shows we residents are subsidizing the other users and we are lossing millions if real depreciation costs are used! ( remember how they recently screwed up the transponers and over 10% of the customer are not getting their water meters read, but estimated bills )

    The majority of residents can't come to all the meetings and watch the mismanagement, they have families with small children and other needs to attend to, as one resident put it to me who has been active in the past " Hate those people" , but she was been to busy to come to the meetings. While hate is a strong word, it clear too many of our public officials are just not acting in our interest, and some appear unable to understand how the city should be run.

    Once again they are hiding the tax increase, it appears to be well beyond inflation and when you add in the water increase and waste increase well beyond 5%! ( remember inflation is about 1-1/2 %)

    Wonder if Wally will use the new mobile city hall to sell  his pork burgers to us residents? ( pork projects)




    1. Water/Sewer Tax

      Junad – I would like someone to explain to me the FULL COST of the 30% water increase we are being asked to pay over the next three years when we factor in the huge 150% tax we pay on our water/sewer bills.  That tax was added in implements to pay for the sewer upgrades and it was supposed to begin going down already, but we are still paying it.  Is THAT tax ever going to go away?  No one talks about it.  Did I somehow misunderstand that tax when it was initially implemented?

      1. Water/Sewer Tax

        Reposting corrected version!

        Junad – I would like someone to explain to me the FULL COST of the 30% water increase we are being asked to pay over the next three years when we factor in the huge 150% tax we pay on our water/sewer bills.  That tax was added in increments to pay for the sewer upgrades and it was supposed to begin going down already, but we are still paying it.  Is THAT tax ever going to go away?  No one talks about it.  Did I somehow misunderstand that tax when it was initially implemented?

        1. Water and Sewer fees are not justified

          I will give you a short response, Call me Bill will give you my phone number if you want to learn about all the problems

          The sewer fees were  not to fix the sanitary sewers but the storm water collector system, they are coming to a close, but now they are telling you they are increasing the fees for water pipe and sewer replacement.

          Thier capital program is a mess, and I have serious doubts as too how much of the funds are really being used for capital, given they transfer over 3 million dollars each year out of the water fund to the general.

    2. FQHC- very low use?

      Junad, discussing the Erie FQHC, says:

      "The mayors pet project, which appears to have very low use."

      What information do you have, Junad, on usage of Erie?   What do you consider "very low use".

      Here is what was projected by the City in 2011:

      "A Federally Qualified Health Center in Evanston would deliver health care to over 5,000 patients through over 18,000 patient visits who live in households earning under 200% of the Federal poverty level. This initial Federal grant of $600,000 would help provide initial operating costs for the center for three years."


      5000 patients…..that's low use?   Do you have figures on how many patients actually came?

      1. Check out the Story on Erie and the civic center

        I  suggest you check out Bills story on Erie, previously posted the numbers are no where near 5,000!

        The use versus cost is not justified.

        1. Exceeding expectations, Junad.

          Junad, I did check out Charles'  story on Erie (Erie Health facility on target for August opening,Evanston Now, April 12 2013)

          "Since the facility opened last October in temporary quarters in the Morton Civic Center, Kelly said, some 400 dental and 400 primary care visits have been logged, which exceeded their expectations.

          Interviews have already begun for positions at the new state-of-the-art 16,000-square-foot facility in Evanston that is expected to handle 30,000 patient visits per year."

          To summarize:

          Erie's usage has exceeded expectations so far, and it is expected to handle 30,000 patients per year at the new facility.  Sounds like a good investment.

          1. These visits include Evanston

            These visits include Evanston, Chicago and other local residents.  Erie cannot limit their services to Evanston residents only.

  5. Mobile City Hall

    The people who are in charge of the city hall don't really listen to their constituents and the administration has the 311 system which was an improvement.

    Perhaps the mobile city hall is intended to be parked at the university so that they may give their orders directly to the city rather than having to call. Or maybe the city has seen the folly of keeping the Lorraine Morton money pit and will be moving their operations into the truck.

    A bookmobile like the one operated in Skokie miught be an alternative use for those areas West of the tracks and South of the Canal that are underserved by the unelected taxing body that now runs the library system.

    In any event, this seems like an even greater waste of money than the decorating of the town and city vehicles with the 150th anniversay logos. What did that cost?

  6. The library should pay for the waste mobile

    This so-called mobile city hall vehicle looks and smells like a bookmobile that the Evanston Public Library would want.

    The unelected Library Board just levied a 35 percent tax increase. Yes, unelected board members are raising taxes.

    Wally B. is a big government advocate. He and the City Council created a 311 call center and spent $1 million and hired at least 20 more union employees. Rather than the responsible citizen looking up the proper phone number on the city's website, all callers are automatically directed to a call center.  

    I say let the library pay for this ridiculous waste mobile out of its own budget. In the meantime, you can expect more city tax increases, water and other fee hikes as long as big government people are running the city.

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