City Council adopts four goals through 2020


Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Ald. Donald Wilson (4th). Wilson voted in favor of an ordinance to raise sales taxes in Evanston; the ordinance passed 5-4.

Emma Edmund, Reporter

During a special City Council meeting Tuesday, aldermen adopted and made plans to develop four goals through the end of 2020, including expanding affordable housing options and stabilizing long-term city finances.

The goals are to “invest in city infrastructure and facilities,” “enhance community development and job creation,” “expand affordable housing options” and “stabilize long-term city finances,” according to city documents.

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) emphasized balance as the key to achieving these goals.

“We’re in a place now historically where we’re really thinking outside the box,” Fiske said. “This is a sort of transformational point in our history that personally I haven’t seen since about the 1920s, but it’s exciting; it’s challenging. As all of these things go together — you can’t separate economic development from affordable housing from job creation from relations within the community and police … How we balance them is going to be our challenge moving forward.”

The Council narrowed its new list of goals from the previous year’s six, leaving out prior goals of furthering “police/community relations initiatives” and ensuring “equity in all city operations,” according to city documents.

Aldermen also opted to leave out equity objectives and sustainability objectives outlined in the Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) as their own goals, instead opting to weave them into the overarching four. Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd), however, argued for the CARP objectives to be outlined in a separate goal.

“I also understand (CARP) needs to interweave with all of these,” Wynne said. “We keep talking about preparing, preparing, preparing, because it’s coming — it’s here. It’s already happening.”

The aldermen also discussed the importance of obtaining data to create more quantitative objectives to meet these goals. Their discussion included overcoming barriers that keep businesses from coming into Evanston and whether building more housing units is an effective way to help low-income residents.

In addition to the four overarching goals, City Council plans to discuss specific objectives within each goal during the coming months. Aldermen will meet with city staff to discuss each goal in-depth.

However, the work City Council needs to do is far from over. Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) said the Council still needs to collect a lot more data to create more objectives.

“I want to leave this job with everything better than when I got here,” Wilson said. “We’re on track and we’re doing a good job, but there’s a lot, a lot, a lot of work to do. We don’t have quite the trajectory we need to have.”

Wilson expressed hope, though, that the Council and city could take concrete steps to achieve these goals over the next two years.

“We’re a leader in lots of different ways,” he said. “Let’s keep that going. It’s going to require work, it’s going to require dedication, but I think we have that from this group.”

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