Whenever a City Council meeting begins with police and fire promotions and something like the Red and White Day celebration of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and their many public services, it is always going to be downhill from there. Such was the case on Nov. 23.
Red and White day has become an annual event at City Council, with stately women clad in bright red descending upon Council Chambers to receive commendation from Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. The North Shore chapter includes such luminaries as City Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith and Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes.
Promotions followed, with Fire Chief Greg Klaiber announcing Paul Polep’s promotion to division chief in charge of Emergency Medical Services, “about 65% of what we do,” said the Chief. “I am really welcoming him,” said Chief Klaiber. “The Chief then pinned on Division Chief Polep’s new badge, because the Polep family could not make the meeting.
That was not the case with the promotion of Sergeant Melissa Sacluti to Police Commander. Her wife pinned on her badge, surrounded by the couple’s children. It was a tough act to follow.
Items such as the purchase of chemicals for the water plant, and similar business, were not so elevated. Water treatment chemicals cost almost $420,000, and include the coagulate aluminum sulfate, which binds to impurities making them easier to filter them out. Fluoride and chlorine are added as well, plus some blended phosphates.
The Youth Job Center of Evanston (YJC) received up to $80,000 from the Parks department “to provide 15 disconnected and unemployed young adults who are low- to moderate-income Evanston residents (aged 18-24) with a career pathway plan that leads to educational/work trade certification…” Kevin Brown, the City’s Youth and Young Adult Program Manager, said it was the program’s fourth year, and “most participants are full time employed after they complete the training program.”
Karen Demorest of the YJC said last year funding actually helped 24 youths, not the minimum of 15.
Every agenda, it seems, includes huge expenditures that go almost unnoticed. At the Nov. 23 meeting, Council approved without discussion almost $3.8 million for Sheridan Road water main lining. The massive Sheridan Road project, including repaving, water mains, traffic signal coordination, and sidewalks, began in 2009 and, according to the City’s website, remains “in progress” today.
The Police Department was next up. Council approved funding for emergency backup, an “uninterrupted power supply” for the Police and Fire headquarters. The cost is $40,850 for something the City hopes never gets used. Also, four new police cars will be outfitted with emergency lighting and sirens, because when purchased, vehicles do not include these items. The cost: almost $29,000.
In something of an unusual moment, the agenda included no new liquor license items. Three liquor licenses introduced at the last meeting passed on the consent agenda without discussion or opposition – Starbucks on Main, 27 Live’s 4 a.m. license, and the new Thai restaurant Nakorn on Orrington Avenue.
Finally, in a ten minute Planning and Development committee meeting, Council said farewell to Bobbi Newman, who has acted as staff support for the committee for years. Ms. Newman moves on to “a career she will be pursuing in music and the arts,” said Committee Chair Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward.
Council also approved, without discussion and with suspended rules for immediate effect, a commercial indoor recreation facility, 9 Round Fitness, at 1706 Central St., and the Little Green Tree House daycare center at 2812 Central St.