Thursday, April 12, 2012
Many of the information requests reportedly come from only a handful of people. The workload is enough that the City Council authorized the hiring of an additional part-time employee.
A small number of individuals and entities are responsible for the 10 to 20 weekly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that are overwhelming Evanston’s city clerk’s office, said City Clerk Rodney Greene at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. By state statute, the city clerk maintains city records, and because of this, Greene serves as one of two Evanston FOIA Officers. But the number of City of Evanston FOIA requests has grown steadily enough over the past three years that the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the city clerk to hire an extra part-time employee to help manage the overload. The city received 527 FOIA requests last year, up from 337 in 2009, and Greene said he expects this year’s total to match or …
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Seven Evanston committee meetings are scheduled next week, including City Council and Economic Development.
Here's a look at what's on the agenda for next week's government meetings: City Council members will push forward the Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Referendum, which Evanston voters approved during Tuesday's election. Evanston's Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and city aldermen will gather for a public meeting at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center at 2100 Ridge Ave., Monday night immediatly after Evanston's Planning & Development Committee meeting, which starts at 7:15 p.m., adjourns. The meeting agenda also plans for the approval of a $45,915.63 purchase of new radios from Texas-based SAT Radio Communications, Ltd. for Evanston police, and a $196,40.00 purchase of 50 street light power centers from Grayslake-based Excel Ltd. Inc. …
Friday, March 23, 2012
A proposed downtown tavern wouldn't sell food, despite current city requirement for liquor licence applicants.
Aldermen on the Administration and Public Works Committee have asked the liquor board to create a new classification that would help Ted Mavrakis bring a World of Beer franchise to downtown Evanston's Fountain Square building, the Evanston Review reports. Mavrakis was behind last year's failed attempt to to open a Tilted Kilt sports bar downtown. Under the city's current statute, downtown bars must also serve food to qualify for a liquor license, but the World of Beers franchise only serves alcohol. Mavrakis has made arrangements with seven local restaurants to deliver food to World of Beer patrons if his application is approved, according to the article. Related: The Keg reopens while owner appeals his loss of liquor license.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
A Heartland Alliance study shows that Evanston raised taxes at a lower rate than the average suburb between 2000 and 2010.
While Evanston taxpayer bills increased more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2010, it was a smaller increase than the average Cook County municipality, according to an article on Evanston Now. The article, citing a study by the Heartland Alliance, says Evanston taxes rose 57 percent over than period, compared to an average increase of 75 percent. Read the study by clicking on the PDF in the media box to the right. Read the full Evanston Now story here. What do you think? Does knowing Evanston's increase was below the average make you feel better about your tax bill?
The city was one of 214 governments to receive a 'Sunny Award.'
The City of Evanston has received an A+ from an open government advocacy group for its website, earning it a 2012 “Sunny Award.” The Sunshine Review is a nonprofit organization that encourages government transparency. Its annual Sunny Awards look at state, county, city and school district websites and evaluate their transparency. Evanston was one of 214 government entities to win the award out of the more than 6,000 websites reviewed, according to the Sunshine Review. The organization noted the availability of lobbying information, current and past budgets, and information on zoning and planning, as well as contact info for city officials in awarding Evanston its A+. The awards coincide with Sunshine Week this week, which is recognized by …
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The question of whether the township should be dissolved is one of three referendum questions on the March 20 ballot.
Evanston has three referendum questions on its March 20 ballot — one on the township dissolution, one on funding for a new school building, and one on electrical aggregation. Those first two questions seem to have touched a nerve with residents, so we wanted to start a dialogue on the site for those who feel passionately about the issues and those who are still undecided. Today, we're asking about the township dissolution. Please vote in our poll and then share your thoughts in the comments below. Tomorrow we'll look at the District 65 building question. Related: Get all your March 20 election info at Evanston's Election Central. Here's the exact wording of the ballot question: Should the Evanston Township Board continue to pursue the …
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Karen Lyons was confirmed for the director job Wednesday night.
Evanston's Public Library Board unanimously approved the appointment of the Chicago Public Library's longtime acting first commissioner as Evanston's new library director, according to Evanston Review. Karen Lyons will start the job April 16, the article said. She previously served as Mayor Richard M. Daley’s budget director. Evanston's previous library director, Mary Johns, resigned in July to take a job out of state.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Some of the most memorable were about a dangerous looking cloud, which turned out to be fog, and questions about the Evanston (WY) rodeo.
The city's 311 non-emergency call center turned one year old on March 1 (get it, last year was 3-1-11) and the city has supplied some interesting facts about it's first year. A total of 134,883 calls were received, which resulted in 20,801 service requests, according to information provided by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. Not surprisingly, the biggest peak in calls came during and just after storms, with the highest weekday volume coming on the stormy July 11 when 1,328 people phoned in. The top three requests were for special pick-up, with 1,755 requests, building permit inspection, with 1,714 requests, and broken parking meter, with 891 requests. Patch was delighted that Bobkiewicz included some of the call takers most memorable …
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Lehman Walker, the former director of community and economic development, is now a city manager in Missouri.
Updated: March 2 Evanston City Manger Wally Bobkiewicz responded today to the news off Lehman Walker's censure. "He served Evanston very well in his time here and we were sorry to see him go and continue to wish him well," Bobkiewicz said. He added that he was not part of any discussions about Walker with the ICMA. Original story: Lehman Walker, Evanston's former director of commuity and economic development, has been censured by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and barred from future membership. The action was based in part on Walker's decision to leave his Evanston job after only nine months. Walker is now the city manager in University City, MO. Walker left his job in Evanston in 2010. The decision was made by…
The response came after a column earlier this week about some cab horror stories provoked many comments of similar bad cab experiences.
Earlier this week, columnist Christine Wolf wrote about her growing awareness of cab drivers who are taking advantage of fares in Evanston by not turning the meter on, taking circuitous routes or simply going to the wrong destination. The column spurred many comments from readers recounting their own bad cab experiences both in the story's comment section and on Evanston Patch's Facebook page. In response to the column, Stephen O'Sullivan, the city's license and measures inspector, wrote Christine with advice for what residents should do if they encounter a bad cabbie. He also explained why many of them are leaving their meters off — it means they don't lose their "spot in line" should another fare come up in the area. Below is the full …