With no items for a Planning and Development Committee agenda, the June 22 City Council meeting began early – just after the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting – and continued smoothly with discussion on a few items and unanimous consent on all.
At the start of the meeting, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl proclaimed June 27, “John J. Cahill, Inc., Day,” in honor of that plumbing business’s 125 years in Evanston. The proclamation noted that Cahill’s “orange trucks are seen throughout the community. … Cahill supports local civic endeavors… and the fourth generation still resides in Evanston.”
Paul D’Agostino, assistant director of Public Works and grand marshal of this year’s Fourth of July parade, gave a report on the “I Heart Evanston Trees” campaign. In 18 months, donations to the non-for-profit arm of the City’s forestry division have allowed the City to plant 70 additional trees, he said. The theme of this year’s Fourth of July parade is “Tree City, Green City,” and the City will have two floats. Mr. D’Agostino added that the parade and its tree-centered theme will be the kickoff for this year’s fundraising efforts. “Our goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year,” he said.
Council members approved without comment a contract for $27,500 with local business WreckCon Specs to demolish the building at 717 Howard St., a property the City purchased in 2012 with the idea that together with 721-23 Howard St., it would be part of a theater on Howard Street. (See 5/21/15 Evanston RoundTable or evanstonroundtable.com) With the plumbing and wiring below code, the City decided instead to raze the building.
The Council also approved a resolution to continue to pay the prevailing wage for public works projects. The resolution puts the City in compliance with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (820 ILSC130/0.01.) State law requires that this be done in June of each year. According to the City, “The Act requires that contractors and subcontractors pay workers covered under the Act, who are employed on public works construction projects, a wage no less than the general prevailing rate of wages (consisting of hourly cash wages plus fringe benefits) in the county where the work is performed.”
Council awarded a $55,000 contract to Dr. Gilo Kwesi Logan of Logan Consulting Services to conduct a series of interactive workshops on diversity and inclusion.
Suspending the rules to allow introduction and approval at the same meeting, aldermen decreased by two the number of Class D liquor licenses, after the closing of Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles on Dempster Street and Lupita’s on Main Street.
The new taxing district along Chicago Avenue between, and including, Main and Dempster streets, was introduced, with a vote to approve the new district expected at the July 13 meeting. The district, which would be Evanston’s sixth, includes the businesses in that area. The tax cap of 0.45% of the equalized assessed valuation and an annual budget of about $200,000 would apply only to the commercial properties. The business owners who proposed the district say the tax revenue would be used for such things as signage, lighting, landscaping, holiday decorations, and additional garbage collections.
The harmony from the previous four days of memorials and celebrations – the Juneteenth concert in Twiggs Park, the Evanston Own It 250-voice-choir concert, the Custer Street Fair, the dedication of the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Arts Center, the annual Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate and the re-opening of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Art Guild Gallery – appeared to prevail at City Council.
At the call of the wards, aldermen Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, and Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, spoke of the collaboration that had gone into preparing for those events. Ald. Holmes contrasted the peaceful celebrations in Evanston with the national horror of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.