It was a night of transition, from the 77th City Council to the 78th, but there was still some work to be done. A light agenda greeted the last session of the 77th Council, but that agenda included the acceptance of grant money for energy efficiency, homelessness and new recycling bins.

Council approved the submission of a grant application to the U.S. Department of Energy for nearly $750,000 in federal stimulus funds. The application requests federal money for the replacement of streetlight lamps with more energy-efficient versions, a project the City had budgeted for already, and homeowner weatherization assistance for certain income-qualified Evanston residents. More details will follow once the Department of Energy accepts, rejects, or alters the application.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will also provide some funding to the City, with a grant of $60,000. This will fund the transition from smaller recycling carts to full-sized wheeled bins. The project was well under way before the grant’s arrival. In response to a question from Eighth Ward Alderman Ann Rainey, Suzette Eggleston, Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation, told the Committee, said, “We were going to buy these carts anyway,” but the grant allows the City to buy them faster and saves $60,000. The carts should also result in a lower solid-waste disposal bill, as more residents are likely to recycle more materials, noted Ms. Eggleston in response to a question from First Ward Alderman Cheryl Wollin.

Another federal stimulus program will add $801,460 to the City’s efforts to help residents stay in their homes and help Evanston’s homeless population secure stable housing. The grant, which comes to the City based upon a formula contained within the stimulus bill, is from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

Other than accepting grants, the Council had little business to attend. Bittersweet farewells and exciting hellos filled the night.