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CITY COUNCIL February 14, 2000 ROLL CALL - PRESENT: Alderman Wynne Alderman Newman Alderman Moran Alderman Drummer Alderman Engelman A quorum being present. NOT PRESENT AT ROLL CALL: Aldermen Bernstein, Kent, Rainey, Feldman PRESIDING: Mayor Lorraine H. Morton The OFFICIAL REGULAR MEETING of the City Council was called to order by Mayor Morton on Monday, February 14, 2000 at 5:45 p.m. in the Aldermanic Library. Alderman Drummer moved that Council convene into Closed Session to consider personnel and real estate matters. Seconded by Alderman Engelman. Roll call. Voting aye –Wynne, Moran, Engelman, Newman, Drummer. Voting nay – none. Motion carried (5-0). At 7:10 p.m. Alderman Drummer moved to reconvene into Open Session. Seconded by Alderman Feldman. Motion carried, no nays. At 7:11 p.m. Mayor Morton recessed the meeting so that aldermen could attend standing committee meetings. At 9:00 p.m. Mayor Morton called the Council meeting to order in the Council Chamber. Announcements: City Manager Roger Crum announced that Presidents Day, Monday, February 21, would not be a City holiday and Tuesday, February 15 was the last day to purchase vehicle stickers. Mayor Morton asked all to stand and observe a moment of silence to honor Kevin Richards, ETHS student, whose untimely death brought sorrow to the community. Mayor Morton thanked Darlene Nilges, City Manager’s Office and Mary Morris, City Clerk, for carnations and candy in observance of Valentine’s Day. Communications: City Clerk Mary Morris announced that there would be voters’ registration Saturday, February 19, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the City Clerk’s office. The last day to register before the March 21 Primary Election was Tuesday, February 22. CITIZEN COMMENT: Lynn Richmond, 1923 Lee St., lifelong resident and teacher, expressed concerns about the proposed cut in the Summer Youth Program because of the need to provide opportunities to students to gain experience to prepare them for the workforce. Many of her students benefit from the program and she suggested funding be increased. 2 February 14, 2000 Stephen Prout, 2302 Isabella St., vice president, Library Board of Trustees, stated in view of the fact that the library practices fiscal prudence and has come in under budget in past years, the suggested cutback of $100,000 was inappropriate. He explained the library board recently reaffirmed its policy of having a main library and two branches, which was announced February 4. The board, in light of the Himmel /Wilson report, has instructed staff to investigate another location for the South Branch Library. Both branches are undersized, underfunded and understaffed and there was no recommendation in the report to close any branch. Junko Yokota, 3301 Hartzell St., library board member, stated the Himmel & Wilson report was one aspect of the assessment of library services, which is ongoing. She noted the decision to close a branch at this time would cut short discussions on how to improve library services within the community. She suggested that slashing the budget would negate efforts of the Fund for Excellence, which asks for private contributions and asked that there be no reduction in the library budget or branch closing. Cheryl Wollin, 2025 Sherman Ave., stated that the library board puts careful thought, analysis and strategic planning in making decisions and library policy. When closing branch libraries were discussed in 1996, many citizens came forth to support them, which the library board affirmed. The library board is considering relocating the south branch to Main Street, which they believe would strengthen library services in south Evanston and the commercial viability of Main Street plus solve space and ADA limitations at the present location (there since 1917). Ms. Wollin stated that constituencies must have time to give input on decisions. Alderman Newman proposed the change on Saturday, which could have been voted on only 48-hours later. She termed this a violation of every principle of citizen inclusion and poor public policy. She was enraged at the audacity of the proposal and the timing of it. Debbie Hillman, 1146 Oak Ave., spoke for Renee Moses and herself only, in reference to remarks made before Council on November 22 by Peggy Tarr, chair, Nichols Neighbors. Ms. Hillman said the consensus of Nichols Neighbors was support for both mural projects at a November 18 meeting and Alderman Bernstein, who enthusiastically supported both, showed no favoritism. Peggy Tarr’s comments were her own and not authorized by Nichols Neighbors. Alderman Bernstein moved to extend Citizen Comment. Seconded by Alderman Wynne. Motion carried, no nays. Hollis Settles, Jr., responded to a gentleman who spoke at the public hearing and asked Council to get back to the “nuts and bolts” of municipal government and stop providing services that other communities surrounding Evanston do not. His response was “this is not your father’s village.” This is a City that has cultural, racial, ethnic, religious and social concerns. He asked Council to use their hearts and heads in current budget deliberations and to look beyond their wards. Mary Daly, 554 Sheridan Sq., long-term resident in southeast Evanston, stated the South Branch Library is a vital part of the neighborhood and suggested it would be terrible to lose. She expressed confusion about spending, noting $500,000 to Dave’s Italian Kitchen and $300,000 to the Pine Yard, moving the senior center and spending $12 million to build a movie theater and now they want to close a library. She stated that south Evanston needs this library and asked Council to reconsider eliminating the south branch. Alderman Newman asked that the City Manager explain the limitation on the use of TIF funds for general revenue and that the answer to be forwarded to Ms. Daly. Mimi Peterson, 1008 Ashland Ave., urged Council to continue funding contract tree trimming and not reduce tree trimming by $125,000. She commented on staff response to her remarks of January 24 when she alleged the work was not performed properly by the contractor. She reported that Thomas Green, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Western Illinois University had inspected the trees and judged 10-20% of the trees to have been improperly trimmed. She expected a written report from Mr. Green next week. Ms. Peterson is paying Mr. Green for his services. Alex Sproul, 646 Judson Ave., lives and owns a business in the 3rd Ward. He likes libraries and having a neighborhood library is important to quality of life. He understood use of the south branch was down and was not surprised considering 3 February 14, 2000 the Internet and the location on Chicago Avenue. He suggested there would be citizen and business support to work with the Library Board to raise funds to keep and move the library to Main St. He recognized that hard choices have be made on the budget and was willing to pay a share of whatever tax increase is required to keep the South Branch Library. Angela Johnson, 1942 Dempster St., facilitator for Family Focus, asked Council to reconsider closing the South Branch Library. She explained Family Focus has worked with the south branch to provide storytelling in a warm welcoming atmosphere for parents who feel threatened. CONSENT AGENDA (Any item marked with an Asterisk*) Alderman Drummer moved Council approval of the Consent Agenda with these exceptions: Agreement #5 with Harza Environmental for Phase V - Long Range Sewer Project; Agreement #5 with Harza Environmental for Phase VII - Long Range Sewer Project; Ordinance 12-O-00 – Increase Sewer Rates; Ordinance 135-O-99 – General Business License; Ordinance 9-O-00 – Modifications Regarding Installation and Use of Alarm Systems; Resolution 11-R-00 – Authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement with Evanston Township. Seconded by Alderman Wynne. Roll call. Voting aye - Wynne, Bernstein, Kent, Moran, Engelman, Rainey, Feldman, Newman, Drummer. Voting nay – none. Motion carried (9-0). * ITEMS APPROVED ON CONSENT AGENDA MINUTES: * Approval of the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 24, 2000 and the Special Council Meetings of January 8 and 22, 2000. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) ADMINISTRATION & PUBLIC WORKS: * Approval, as recommended, of City of Evanston payroll for the periods ending February 3, 2000 and City of Evanston bills for the period ending February 15, 2000 and that they be authorized and charged to the proper accounts, summarized as follows: City of Evanston payroll (through 2/3/00) $1,613,646.41 City of Evanston Bills (through 2/15/00) $4,608,564.80 * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Approval of the lowest responsive and responsible bid of Sherlock Systems for Microsoft Client Access Licenses for Information Systems at a cost of $56,559.42. * APPROVED–CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Approval of the proposal of Ciorba Group for the Asbury Avenue Bridge Study for the Engineering Division at a cost of $64,560. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Approval of the proposal of JM Process Systems, Inc. to provide a Turbidity Monitoring System for the Water & Sewer Division at a cost of $32,606. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Approval of the proposal from Metro Transportation Group Inc. to provide engineering services for a Ridge Ave./Church St./Davis St. signal system interconnect project at a cost of $177,243.87. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) !!!!! * Resolution 12-R-00 – MFT Resolution for Howard St. Reconstruction Project – Consideration of 4 February 14, 2000 proposed Resolution 12-R-00, by which City Council would authorize use of an additional $107,000 in MFT Funds for the Howard St. Reconstruction Project. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Ordinance 146-O-99 – Increase in Fire Department Transport Fees – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 146-O-99, by which City Council would amend Section 9-2-3(B) of the City Code to increase Fire Department Transport fees. * MARKED INTRODUCED–CONSENT AGENDA * Ordinance 13-O-00 – Decrease in Class D Liquor Licenses – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 13-O-00, by which City Council would decrease the number of Class D liquor licenses from 22 to 21 with the closure of the Pine Yard Restaurant. * MARKED INTRODUCED–CONSENT AGENDA * Ordinance 15-O-00 – Decrease in Class D Liquor Licenses – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 15-O-00, by which City Council would decrease the number of Class D liquor licenses from 21 to 20 with the closure of Michelini’s Pizza. * MARKED INTRODUCED–CONSENT AGENDA * Ordinance 133-O-99 – Decrease in Class H Liquor Licenses - Consideration of proposed Ordinance 133-O-99, introduced January 10, 2000, by which City Council would decrease the number of Class H liquor licenses from 2 to 1 due to the change in ownership of Evanston First Liquors. * ADOPTED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) * Ordinance 134-O-99 – Increase in Class H Liquor Licenses - Consideration of proposed Ordinance 134-O-99, introduced January 10, 2000, by which City Council would increase the number of Class H liquor licenses from 1 to 2 due to the change in ownership of Evanston First Liquors. * ADOPTED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT: * Ordinance 14-O-00 – Special Use for 630 Davis St. – Consideration of a recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a Special Use permit for a Type 2 restaurant to Jamba Juice at 630 Davis St. (Chandler’s Building). * MARKED INTRODUCED–CONSENT AGENDA * Ordinance 10-O-00 – Amendment to Fee Ordinance/Zoning Appeals – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 10-O-00, introduced January 24, 2000, which amends Ordinance 46-O-99, modifying zoning fees for appeals of the administrator’s decisions. * ADOPTED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) HUMAN SERVICES: * Approval of Township Bills – Consideration of a recommendation that City Council approve the Township bills, payroll and medical payments for the month of January 2000 in the amount of $103,416.48. * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) APPOINTMENTS: * Mayor Morton asked for introduction of the following appointment: Lionel Jean-Baptiste Civil Service Commission 1217 McDaniel Ave. * Mayor Morton asked for confirmation of the following appointment: 5 February 14, 2000 Hecky Powell Playground & Recreation Board 1000 Maple Ave. For term ending February 28, 2005 * Mayor Morton asked for confirmation of the following reappointments: Greg E. Norwell Zoning Board of Appeals 1504 St. Marks Ct. For term ending February 28, 2005 Carl E. Davis M/W/EBE Development Committee 9403 Bennett Ave. For term ending February 28, 2002 Laurie B. Marston M/W/EBE Development Committee 2709 Gross Point Rd. For term ending February 28, 2002 Janice Sachen M/W/EBE Development Committee 2653 Orrington Ave. For term ending February 28, 2002 Michael Sutton M/W/EBE Development Committee 1837 Ashland Ave. For term ending February 28, 2002 * APPROVED – CONSENT AGENDA REPORT OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES ADMINISTRATION & PUBLIC WORKS: Alderman Rainey moved approval of Agreement Amendment #5 with Harza Environmental for PhaseV of the long-range Sewer Project, extending the term and increasing the price by $143,000. Seconded by Alderman Moran. Alderman Rainey directed her comments to both change orders noting that staff says these are dollars well earned; Harza is qualified and does a good job. She asked Council to embark on efforts to reduce costs wherever possible that is causing people to pay higher sewer rates. She called this a Cadillac project and said that while Harza is competent, others could do this work for less. She claimed it is well known that Harza Engineering is one of the highest cost engineering firms in the country and Council owes it to the taxpayers to reduce the cost of this project. She noted that minority contractors are used; the City is being charged 200% for clerical labor, 185% for field labor and 10% for subcontractor administration by Harza. Mr. Figurelli told her that everybody charges those fees. Alderman Feldman noted this is the largest single project the City has undertaken with a dramatic effect on pocketbooks, comfort and safety. The City has dealt with the same company since the project’s inception. He has no complaints about Harza. His concern was that some are not comfortable with the charges the City has had to pay. The issue continues to come up, even though staff says these charges are comparable to other companies. Staff had said the cost of marketing/sales is built into the contract charges. He pointed out that Harza has not had to market itself in Evanston. He thought there could be some discounts the City could get. Even though the contractor’s standard charge is 10% for subcontract administration, they could forgive that. He did not know why they don’t put it out for bid. 6 February 14, 2000 Alderman Newman could not speak about Harza’s design/construction work. He cited problems with oversight on sewer projects in the 1st Ward. He noted the City’s personal injury lawyer gives superb work for a low rate because Evanston is a valued client. He suggested Evanston made millionaires out Harza partners. He thought the City should have gone out to bid on contracts and there are other capable engineering firms. Superintendent of Water & Sewers Richard Figurelli explained that this project began in 1990 and in that time Harza has never raised their rates. The engineering cost is a small percentage of the project. One reason the projects are coming in below estimated cost is that one contractor oversees multiple contracts. Alderman Moran pointed out both change orders are for work completed months ago. The issue of what they will do in the future regarding engineering services is aside from this. He represents a ward that was an initial battle zone for sewer repair and has lived with it for 5-6 years. The issue that Harza has not had to sell their services was not accurate in his view, because they have been selling themselves daily for months and years. The best sales job is how they do their work and when difficulties arise they are there. He pointed out that all difficulties could be attributed to Harza. A benefit of having Harza is that administrative costs could be spread over several projects. Another saving is through the IEPA revolving loan fund; the City could borrow at 2.9% interest. One reason the City has been able to land millions in these funds is due to the goodwill that Harza has in Springfield. Harza goes in with instant credibility. If the City were going out at market rates, sewer rates would be much higher. He recalled a discussion 2-3 years ago about going out for bid at the Flood & Pollution Control Commission. They recommended to Council that it made most sense to have Harza for this job as they designed and oversaw it from the start. Alderman Kent agreed with Alderman Moran and, as Flood & Pollution Control Commission Chair, pointed out this was a learning process for Harza and the City. He recalled when they started dynamiting there were problems. Harza made a video of what they were doing to help citizens understand. He recalled how Main Street was torn up and how beautiful the sidewalks look now. He noted completion of Church/Dodge so as not to interfere with the high school. He recalled neighbors in the 7th Ward who were concerned about large trees and how it was dealt with. He noted this is a lot of money and a huge project that Harza has moved forward. He noted Evanston has obtained loans from IEPA when neighboring communities did not because they were not ready with plans. He pointed out if this is not done right, it would have to be done over, which seemed foolish. Alderman Drummer stated plans for this project were drawn up long before the City got funding for the project. The delay in getting funding from IEPA was a snag. The duration of the projects in question was nine months but actually went 19 months. The City owes Harza for this work. He stated this is not a Cadillac, but a sewer system and this is what it costs to build a sewer system. They could have a cheaper system but this system was what was required to relieve basement backups. He has had much experience with sewer work and complaints because the sewer work came through the 2nd Ward first. He recalled the problems with Marino and others trying to learn how to build a sewer system. He stated the City has paid for the learning curve. They don’t want to bring in somebody from the outside to make changes and adjustments to the design. There is no documented proof that Harza is being paid excessively. People are looking at numbers and saying this is a lot of money and it could be done for less. He noted Kane/McKenna has been here longer than Harza and nobody ever talks about going for bid. He pointed out the City loves the job Marty Stern has done for them and he has not heard anybody recommending a new consultant for the Klutznick project. Somebody has to make money. Harza has done a good job in Springfield. Council has to explain to citizens that Evanston’s 100-year-old sewer system was falling apart. Mr. Figurelli tells them that the project has come in for less than the bids. Nobody would do this work for free or charge as Harza does. On economy of scale, the City is getting a good deal. Alderman Rainey argued aldermen don’t know if this project costs too much because there is nothing to compare to because it was never bid out. One of the reasons for the change orders is the low interest loans. The reason Harza looks at the trees is because they are paid 185% over their salary to do that. She said the advantage to Evanston is the administrative cost is spread over multi-projects and the only savings are on individual projects. She felt when they see numbers these big they have an obligation to check them out. 7 February 14, 2000 Roll call. Voting aye -Wynne, Bernstein, Kent, Moran, Engelman, Rainey, Feldman, Drummer. Voting nay – Newman. Motion carried (8-1). Alderman Rainey moved approval of the Agreement Amendment #5 with Harza Environmental for PhaseVII of the long- range Sewer Project, extending the term of the Agreement and increasing the price by $149,000. Seconded by Alderman Moran. Alderman Newman recalled a reference he made on the repeated use of the same attorneys and on rates paid to the financial consultant. When Marty Stern was hired an RFP was done. He thought to say there are no concerns in other areas was unfair and a competitive bid might confirm Alderman Drummer’s position. Alderman Feldman stated these are tough times. Citizens talk about preservation of culture and institutions and all ask Council not to cut. The efforts at saving money come about due to the serious financial condition of the City. It seemed justified that Council would ask for validation of charges Harza makes. Council members don’t have information that this is the best possible deal and to say that if somebody else is hired is a phantom specter. Alderman Drummer stated they needed to be consistent. He noted the training involved with the sewer project has been tremendous. Nobody has ever produced what the sewer contract has done for Evanston. He believes there have been many improvements and restoration work. He thought if you start a job and, in the middle go, to another contractor, that would put citizens in jeopardy. They want to complete the system and are well on the way in Phase VIII of ten phases. Roll call. Voting aye -Wynne, Bernstein, Kent, Moran, Engelman, Rainey, Feldman, Drummer. Voting nay – Newman. Motion carried (8-1). Ordinance 12-O-00 – Increase in Sewer Rates – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 12-O-00, which amends Title 7, Chapter 13, Section 3(a) of the City Code adjusting the sewer user charge in accordance with the recommendation in the proposed 2000/01 budget. Alderman Rainey moved introduction with the committee amendment of the following increases in rates: 17%. March 1, 2000; 14% March 1, 2001 and 10% March 1, 2002. This item was marked introduced. Ordinance 135-O-99 – General Business License – Consideration of proposed Resolution 3-R-00, introduced January 10, 2000, by which Council would impose a general license on all businesses in Evanston to provide proper life, safety and health regulations. Alderman Rainey moved approval of Ordinance 135-O-99, which would require a fee of $40 for establishments up to 3,000 square feet; $100 for establishments from 3,001 to 10,000 square feet and $200 above 10,000 square feet. Seconded by Alderman Drummer. Alderman Drummer stated staff worked hard to bring in a reasonable license. He had no objection to the fee structure and most small businesspeople he spoke with did not object to paying it. He thought the City could license contractors who work here and landscaping firms, which would give the City a starting point on oversight. His objection to the ordinance was in its presentation. Aldermen were told the business license fee was to cover the cost of services provided to businesses for fire and general inspections. He noted most inspections do not occur in small businesses, but in large non-profit institutions who pay nothing, so small businesses are being asked to subsidize services provided to large institutions such as hospitals, Northwestern, Presbyterian Home and churches. He thought that was unfair. Alderman Drummer made a reference that the City develop a fee structure for those institutions that must be inspected that are not paying, exempting no institution. Alderman Drummer thought this is the first step for fee for service. Alderman Newman suggested while this ordinance was an improvement, the underlying staff analysis was faulty. The costs of inspections were listed and the City was not getting enough from those charges. He pointed out businesses pay 8 February 14, 2000 higher real estate taxes than homeowners, don’t use the parks, library or get garbage pickup. To say they don’t pay enough is not fair and he saw this as creating more ill will in the business community. He recalled that the City started sending out bills for signs in windows, now is putting on another fee. He thought people don’t realize the extraordinarily high tax bills paid by businesses in Evanston. He suggested with the sewer rate going up, a possible increase in real estate taxes, plus a referendum for the schools, by continuing to go to businesses at the same time the City is trying to attract businesses, they may be sending the wrong message. Alderman Feldman reported, after speaking with the Environment Board, that there is no way to enforce the leaf blower ordinance and some thought they could regulate landscapers by withdrawing licenses if not in compliance. He asked if this was built into the budget? Yes. Mr. Stafford stated, if not passed, they would have to makeup $40,000. Alderman Drummer said this was not an increase for those already paying a license fee, but an attempt to get businesses to pay who have not been required to have a license. Restaurants are not included and already pay an inspection fee. Alderman Engelman noted during the course of developing this ordinance he heard many reasons for it. He pointed out contractors who are not located here, unless they do routine work here, won’t know about this license. He said this would get retailers. Now when space is built out there is much gadgetry that has to be installed. He saw this as another means of raising revenue on the backs of the little people. Roll call. Voting aye – Wynne, Moran, Rainey, Feldman, Drummer. Voting nay – Bernstein, Kent, Engelman, Newman. Motion carried (5-4). Ordinance 9-O-00 – Modifications Regarding Installation and Use of Alarm Systems – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 9-O-00, introduced January 24, 2000, by which City Council would approve an increase in fees for false fire and police alarms, reduce number of non-chargeable false alarms, and change inspection fees for life-safety systems. Alderman Rainey moved approval. Seconded by Alderman Moran. Alderman Moran asked that this ordinance be held. Seconded by Alderman Engelman. At the request of two aldermen this item was held. Alderman Rainey reported members of the Energy Commission appeared before the A&PW Committee on putting out requests for qualifications for a business energy partner to explore alternatives to the City’s franchise with ComEd which expires in June 2002. PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT: Ordinance 14-O-00 – Special Use for 630 Davis – Consideration of a recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a Special Use permit for a type 2 restaurant to Jamba Juice at 630 Davis Street (Chandler’s Building). * MARKED INTRODUCED – CONSENT AGENDA. Ordinance 10-O-00 – Amendment to Fee Ordinance/Zoning Appeals – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 10-O-00, introduced January 24, 2000, which amends Ordinance 46-O-99, modifying zoning fees for appeals of the administrator’s decisions. * ADOPTED – CONSENT AGENDA MOTION AND ROLL CALL (9-0) Alderman Kent announced a special P&D Committee meeting on March 1, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss licensing of multi- family buildings. Alderman Kent reported in March the committee will receive the ordinance to consider establishing the Northeast Evanston Historic Preservation District. Max Rubin has videotapes of the hearings for those who did not attend and 9 February 14, 2000 should call Alderman Kent if they wish to view them. He asked for help in establishing parameters for the meetings and asked that this be considered at the next Rules Committee. He also asked the Mayor’s direction. Alderman Engelman stated the Rules Committee would take up the process, not the substance, on March 6. Citizens who want to comment on substance should not come to the Rules Committee but that does not preclude citizens from coming to discuss the process. Mayor Morton did not want to limit speakers on preservation before the Council. Alderman Kent stated the various groups have already spoken before the Preservation Commission and each alderman has been provided a text of all commentary. He noted when these large issues come before them, everyone is given the same amount of time to speak. Usually they have had no way of cutting it off because there are no parameters. Then when it comes to Council, they hear the same comments that took many meetings (Preservation Commission) and hours. He thought Council wanted to spend more time deliberating among themselves before voting. Alderman Bernstein stated the Rules Committee would address the process on March 6 at 6:00 p.m. There is no attempt to stifle commentary. Council could read the transcripts and see the videos as they consider the Preservation Commission’s decision. Mayor Morton related the Preservation Commission took a straw vote favoring the establishment of the district and asked if everybody got the Westfall Report? They had. Mr. Crum asked Council members to care for the large books containing transcripts of the hearings. Alderman Bernstein stated that all letters would be included to Council. HUMAN SERVICES: Resolution 11-R-00 – Authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement with Evanston Township – Consideration of proposed Resolution 11-R-00, by which City Council would authorize the City of Evanston to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Evanston Township to loan the Township funds. Alderman Feldman moved approval of Resolution 11-R-00. Seconded by Alderman Drummer. Alderman Newman stated there is a serious problem at the Township and one reason is because trustees have allowed the reserves to go so low that they cannot be recovered, due to tax caps, except through a referendum. He predicted ancillary programs and the grant level would have to be looked at to balance the budget. He stated this underscores the importance of reserves, which the Finance Director has argued for, and serious ramifications for Township clients. Alderman Feldman asked Human Services Director Jay Terry if the Township Supervisor has the power to set the level of assistance and the trustees must fund it? Mr. Terry stated legal opinions over the years concur with that. In view of the tax caps, which limit the ability of the Township to levy, how do trustees meet that obligation? Mr. Terry stated the tax cap law provides an avenue for the Township to meet that through a referendum. If that referendum were to pass, revenue could be generated and if it were to fail, they would be in uncharted waters. Alderman Feldman confirmed the only way trustees could go above tax caps would be through a referendum. Could trustees institute a referendum? Herb Hill stated the trustees could place a question on the ballot but could not give a definitive answer. Alderman Feldman suggested all need information on their options and choices as they look ahead. Mr. Hill reminded Council of the distinction between the Town Fund and the General Assistance Fund and how those two levies interrelate. The authority of the supervisor, with respect to the General Fund, is such that the trustees would be required to levy to the maximum required to meet the needs the Township Supervisor requests. There is no litigation, or court decision that Hill knew of whereby the supervisor could have a rate that would exceed monies generated by the General Assistance Fund. At this point the trustees use the Town Fund and General Assistance Fund together to meet the General Fund needs. In response to Alderman Feldman, Mr. Hill stated there are tax caps on both funds. He explained the Township 10 February 14, 2000 is a non-home rule government, entirely different from the City. Alderman Feldman asked if the Township has the obligation to raise the levy to the legal limits. Yes. Mr. Hill explained they can raise the limit to the tax caps and the alternative is a referendum. In the past trustees have used Town Fund money for General Assistance Fund expenditures. Mr. Terry stated in a best case scenario, if trustees decided to place a referendum on the ballot in the spring or fall, financial projections from the Township indicate they will be out of funds by February 2001. The upcoming Township budget would need to be a balanced to avoid lack of funds by early next year. Mayor Morton asked if the handbook for township trustees covers this issue? Alderman Drummer asked if the Township is levying to the maximum on both funds? Mr. Terry responded they are not. The authorized millage in the General Assistance Fund permits a levy up to $1.1 million. The tax cap law prevents the Township from levying to that millage. Alderman Drummer thought the supervisor determines the payout to clients and the trustees figure out how to pay for it. Mr. Hill stated Alderman Drummer was correct and recalled a similar case in Lyons Township, which will again be submitted to trustees. It defines obligations. Alderman Drummer stated when trustees were advocating reducing cash, the Township had a $3-4 million cash reserve. He recalled two rebates of $500,000 plus another $200,000 that went into the Special Housing Fund. For a number of years the Township brought in a deficit budget. He recalled in the past the Township was located in the Civic Center and did not pay rent. They currently pay $112,000 in rent annually and he did not think they had compensated for that. He thought the supervisor could use tax anticipation bonds. Alderman Newman understood that because of tax caps, the same levy and programs at the Township could not be maintained without a referendum. He understood the supervisor could tell them the levy needed. Would it be necessary for trustees to go to a referendum to meet current expenses and grant levels? Or could the trustees do it by voting for the supervisor’s budget? He asked if the supervisor could go out for bonding or incur debt? Mr. Hill said the question with the referendum is a balancing of what the costs would be with respect to the amount of room within the tax cap. If the amount of expenditures exceeds the tax cap, then one way to fund, would be a referendum question. There is a distinction on monies raised for the Town Fund and the General Assistance Fund. If the General Assistance Fund reaches the maximum, trustees still have the ability to transfer funds from Town Fund to the General Assistance Fund. Mr. Terry reiterated the Township would run out of funds based on current spending levels. The memo sent to the Human Services Committee from Mr. Stafford and himself pointed out client grants, housing and medical payments account for about 45% of the total Township budget. His question is what is the provision of General Assistance? Do the ancillary programs provided in the GA and Town Fund constitute General Assistance or is the discussion the client grant, housing assistance, and medical payments which is less than 50% of the township budget? Alderman Feldman asked if the supervisor has the right to set the GA level at any level she deems and is it the obligation of the trustees to find the money, even though there is a tax cap? Mr. Hill stated the answer is in the Lyons Township case and the General Assistance Tax levy. To the extent that money is available, the trustees must make that money available to the supervisor. When that money is not available, are the trustees required to fund from other sources as opposed to raising the GA levy? He could not answer that. Mr. Hill stated the trustees’ obligation is limited to the authority of the supervisor expired at the cap set by the tax levy. Alderman Feldman asked the effect of the tax cap on the ability of trustees to meet their obligations? Mr. Hill explained the tax cap is an internal ceiling within the tax levy. Because of the limitations of the tax cap, trustees do not have the ability to tax up to the maximum millage allowed in the statute because the percentage is greater than that allowed under the tax cap. To go above the tax cap, the trustees would have to go to the electorate with a referendum question. The tax cap is the controlling factor. Alderman Feldman confirmed that the trustees have the capacity to initiate a referendum. Mr. Stafford clarified that the Township is under the appropriation method of budgeting so the Township has to pass a budget by the end of June and cannot pass a budget without sufficient funds because it must be balanced. If they have a deficit budget and reserves they could do that. They cannot pass a budget with more expenditures than revenues. 11 February 14, 2000 Alderman Rainey stated the supervisor has the responsibility to provide a balanced budget, could cut expenses as an alternative to a referendum and did not see how any board can be made to vote a certain way. She asked what if the trustees vote “no” on the proposal to put a referendum on the ballot? She did not think the supervisor could authorize a referendum on the ballot and a referendum would require vote of township officials or a petition drive by citizens. Alderman Drummer recalled the Township ran out of money when Arnold Winfield was the supervisor and for some years they budgeted in a reserve of $450,000. At that time, the Township ran out of money and had to go to short-term borrowing to pay their bills. He suggested that tax caps may have curtailed some of the supervisor’s powers, but by statute the supervisor has the power to deliver services necessary for the clients served. He said the leverage lies with the Town Fund. Alderman Drummer asked Herb Hill to research a 1983 memorandum. Mr. Hill recalled that the supervisor has unfettered discretion with the GA fund. Beyond the GA fund is a separate issue. Alderman Drummer noted whenever the grant has been changed, it has always been at the discretion of the supervisor. Mr. Hill agreed. Roll call. Voting aye -Wynne, Bernstein, Kent, Moran, Engelman, Rainey, Feldman, Newman, Drummer. Voting nay – none. Motion carried (9-0). At 11:43 p.m. Council took a break and reconvened at 11:55 p.m. SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS Resolution 9-R-00 – Proposed FY 2000-2001 Budget – Consideration of proposed Resolution 9-R-00, the Proposed Budget for the City of Evanston for the Fiscal Year 2000-2001. Resolution 10-R-00 – Proposed 2000-2005 Capital Improvement Program – Consideration of proposed Resolution 10-R-00, the 2000-2005 Capital Improvement Program. Alderman Drummer moved that Council have a special meeting on the budget on Monday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m. Seconded by Alderman Wynne. CALL OF THE WARDS: Alderman Wynne announced a 3rd Ward Town Hall Meeting on Saturday February 19 at 10-11:30 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She stated the budget, Chicago Avenue Plan and South Branch Library would be on the agenda. Alderman Bernstein congratulated Hecky Powell on appointment to the Playground & Recreation board. He encouraged 4th Ward residents to contact him about the budget at 328-0800 or email: email@example.com. He suggested there are opportunities for private contributions for the summer youth program and the South Branch Library. He suggested those programs as candidates for contributions from a major university. Alderman Bernstein expressed condolences to the family of Molly Hatcher who was killed in an auto accident. Alderman Engelman conveyed condolences of the 7th Ward to the families of Kevin Richards and Molly Hatcher. Alderman Engelman referred to a memo regarding the Washington National TIF pointing out four years ago it was projected to generate $853,000 in 2000 and generated $1.250 million almost $500,000 more than anticipated. He pointed out TIFs, with reasonable assumptions and good projects, are a boon to the community. He asked the City Manager to provide projections on all TIFs to match against initial projections. Alderman Engelman stated during budget deliberations, all aldermen were encouraged to put up any suggestions they had, no matter what. He noted many were concerned about closing the South Branch Library and had no interest in 12 February 14, 2000 shutting it down this year and would not support it. Mayor Morton clarified the Special Order of Business for Monday would be the proposed 2000-01 budget, proposed 2000-05 Capital Improvement Plan and Ordinance 12-O-00 sewer rates. Alderman Rainey conveyed deep sympathy to Gwen Richards on the death of her son and asked people to reach out to the family. Alderman Feldman offered condolences to the Richards family in their sorrow and sympathy to Bud Nesvig on the death of his wife. Alderman Feldman stated the A&PW Committee saw a presentation from Del Leppke, Energy Commission, on the progress of ComEd, noting they are falling behind in meeting their commitments. He stated Evanston is lucky to have professional people to do this work. and they were owed an open hearing. He thanked them for telling aldermen what they might not want to hear. Alderman Newman stated when they started the budget deliberations their choices were a near 10% increase in real estate taxes and privatizing sanitation at an estimated savings of $800,000 to $1 million annually. He would not go to the summer youth program, branch libraries or DARE program if they would implement the same refuse service for $800,000 less a year. But because they haven’t had the ability to figure out what to do with jobs, they have not had the courage to go forward. Privatizing discussions were begun a year ago and he thought they had good results and a letter from a vendor, but Council was not serious. A speaker accused Council of paralysis. He did not think thousands would show up for the DARE program, branch libraries, summer youth employment or the tree-trimming program but businesses would make decisions based upon how high taxes are here. Former library board members, one outraged and the other asking why he had made the suggestion, called him. He quoted from the Himmel/Wilson report; noted the Library Board plans to move the South Branch Library and found out about it because he raised closing the branch. He did not think the Library Board had thought about the southwest neighborhood and is negotiating to move within the neighborhood. The report stated to have an adequate branch they needed to spend $650,000 annually with a facility of 10,000 square feet and did not think Council would vote for that. When Alderman Newman was first elected, the former library director and board president told him the branches could be closed if all money went to the main library. He thought the issue seems to be who controls the money. He pointed out that no library would ever be built in Illinois for $22 million without a referendum, as was done in Evanston. He said the library has flourished because $22 million was invested. The debt service costs $1.8 million annually. He claimed if Council moved ahead on privatization, nothing would have to be cut. If they don’t choose privatization or cut something else, they will raise other fees or taxes. When that happens it becomes more unaffordable for the poorest people and seniors to live here as well as businesses to come here. Alderman Newman stated the Library Board was notified January 7 that they had information about potential closing of the libraries and that usage was down significantly in the branches. Council was given a list of services not provided by many other cities. He wouldn’t vote for a near 10% tax increase. He suggested that when a program gets to the end of the line, it has to go. The jury is out on closing this branch and the report was critical; he doubted whether moving it would be successful. There was no public input on moving the library to Main Street. After supporting $22 million for the main library, he would not support $200-300,000 to move a branch library. He was responding to information before them and urged them to find a way to get out of paralysis where every interest group stops Council from doing what is in the overall interest of the City. In response to Mayor Morton, Alderman Newman stated the name of the Himmel & Wilson report: An Assessment of Library Service to the Low and Moderate Income Residents of Evanston, Ill. Alderman Newman spoke of the privilege of knowing Loretta Simmons, a Sherman Gardens resident, who recently passed away and expressed condolences to her family. Alderman Drummer made a reference to A&PW Committee regarding the speed limit in Evanston of 30 mph. If not 13 February 14, 2000 posted, it is 30 mph. He suggested changing the speed limit on all residential streets to 25 mph and any street where people want the speed limit above 25 mph would have to have an ordinance change specific to those streets. Alderman Drummer expressed condolences to the Richards and Mr. Nesvig. He reminded all there was $1.34 million in building permit fees not considered in the revenue stream and suggested this one-time revenue could be used on one- time expenditures. There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 a.m. Mary P. Morris, City Clerk A videotape recording of this meeting has been made part of the permanent record and is available in the City Clerk's office.
"City Council Minutes February"