Aldermen to discuss recycling, storefront modernization programs

Public Works Agency director Dave Stoneback. City staff recommends City Council authorize the city manager to execute a contract for residential soft recycling services.

Source: City of Evanston

Public Works Agency director Dave Stoneback. City staff recommends City Council authorize the city manager to execute a contract for residential soft recycling services.

Ryan Wangman, City Editor

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Aldermen will center their discussions at Monday’s City Council meeting on a proposed recycling program and revisions to the city’s storefront modernization program, among other agenda items.

In a memo, the city’s Public Works Agency director Dave Stoneback and Evanston’s environmental service coordinator Paul D’Agostino said city staff recommends City Council authorize the city manager to execute a contract for residential soft-recycling services. The program would require no city funding to operate, and would allow residents of single-family homes or buildings of five or fewer units the ability to recycle materials not currently handled by the city’s weekly recycling program.

The contractor who would collect the soft recyclables —  items that weigh less than fifty pounds and can be carried by one person  —  would pay the city a fee of one cent per pound of gross receipts for those recyclables, according to the memo. This would result in additional city revenue ranging from $60 to $250 a month, based on a city staff review of other municipalities already using the services.

“While these revenues are not significant, the program has the potential to divert a large amount of material from the landfill,” the memo reads.

Also at council on Monday, aldermen will discuss the storefront modernization program, which provides funding assistance for Evanston small business or property owners to update and maintain street-level retail space in the city’s business districts, according to city documents.  The Business District Improvement Fund will provide up to $100,000 for the program in 2018.

“One of the things we learned was that … a way to incentivize retail development (was) we could help businesses with these improvements,” Evanston’s economic development division manager Paul Zalmezak said in 2016. “If we could help small business build out spaces, then that would help retail.”

Initially, the program only provided funds for exterior improvements, but it was revised in 2015 to include eligibility for interior projects in certain situations, a provision that has only been used to fund three major projects. It has funded an average of seven projects each fiscal year from 2012 to 2017 and has only exceeded $100,000 of annual spending twice, according to city documents.

As a result, city staff recommends Evanston remove eligibility for interior renovations and cap individual improvement projects at $25,000 per applicant for fiscal year 2018. According to city documents, staff also recommends a targeted incentive to provide funding to eligible improvement projects in particular areas across the city.

Email: ryanw@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ryanwangman

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