Urbana City Council met February 19.
Urbana City Council met February 19.
Here is the minutes provided by the Council:
Elected Officials Physically Present: Maryalice Wu, Alderwoman Ward 1; Eric Jakobsson, Alderman Ward 2; Aaron Ammons, Alderman Ward 3; Bill Brown, Alderman Ward 4; Dennis Roberts, Alderman Ward 5; Jared Miller, Alderman Ward 7; Diane Wolfe Marlin, Mayor; Charles A. Smyth, City Clerk
Elected Officials Present Via Teleconference: none
Elected Officials Absent: Dean Hazen, Alderman Ward 6
Staff Present: Morgan, Nightlinger, Gray, Schneider, Simon, Hannan, Choate, Hess, Rent, Boys
Others Present: Bill Kruidenier, Aslan Group Media: News-Gazette (Natallie Wickman)
I. Call to Order and Roll Call
There being a quorum present, Mayor Marlin called the meeting of the Urbana City Council to order 5:30 p.m.
II. Public Input
Audrey Ishii, Urbana, made a Powerpoint presentation on Vision Zero. In her presentation, she noted that many of the city’s goals fit in the framework described by Vision Zero and could be an easy win situation for the city. The premise of Vision Zero is that there are no acceptable fatalities for all types of users of the roadway: motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, or motorcyclists. Response and design focuses on the system, including enforcement, technology, and equity. Vision Zero is adaptable by cities including Chicago and Columbia, Missouri. If traffic is slowed down in accident corridors, there are more opportunities for people to see businesses, gardens, and so on. In the past ten years, there is a doubling of traffic deaths with vulnerable road users representing 56% of these, much higher than the national rate of 17.7%. We are moving in the wrong direction. Ms. Ishii noted that in other cities, particular intersections and roadways have been identified as fatality zones and that fatalities are concentrated in vulnerable communities. She noted that enforcement can be concentrated on 5 violations associated with fatalities. Vision Zero is part of the Urbana Bike Master Plan and is going to be included in the Pedestrian Master Plan. In response to a question from CCM Brown about University Avenue, Ms. Ishii noted the numerous deaths but didn’t know, other than safety, IDOT’s focus. She pointed out that they didn’t take into account the changing uses along University. CCM Jakobsson asked about statistics about changes in fatatlities and injuries related to Vision Zero adoption to which Ms. Ishii noted that New York City and San Francisco have seen significant decreases in traffic related fatalities.
III. City Council/Mayor Priorities
a. Structured discussion, Part 2, led by Bill Kruidenier, Aslan Group
Mayor Marlin turned the meeting over to Mr. Kruidenier to lead the second phase of priority setting. Working from a Powerpoint Presentation and handout, he did a recap of the priorities sent by council members, explained the ranking procedure, and provide council the rank orderings in the following table as revised just before the meeing.
Ranking; Points; Priority Statement (as of February 5, 2018):
Council agreed that many of these priorities would require partnerships and collaborations.
1 17 10. Plan for Lincoln Square site transformation into a destination.
2 13 2. Seek to increase minority participation in city procurement, hiring and contracting
3 12 18. Work toward equity in traffic stops and add a Golden Coral on N. Cunningham off I-74.
4 10 17. Expand connectivity of Rail Trail with a focus between Vine and Lincoln.
5 9 14. Make SE Urbana an economic priority – Philo Road business district.
6 7 19. Reduce disparate economic impact of court costs and fines on lower income people.
7 6 5. Invest in and repurpose older housing stock.
8 5 3. Promote Urbana as a destination within the greater UrbanaChampaign-University community.
8 5 4. Be more welcoming to businesses.
8 5 9. Build stronger facility connections and programmatic collaborations with the University.
8 5 1. Eliminate housing discrimination on racial or ethnic grounds
12 4 8. Invest more heavily in social services starting with detox center.
12 4 12. Accelerate Urbana’s path to zero carbon footprint.
14 3 7. Promote paths to employment for at risk youth
14 3 20. Assess and improve community relations with city offices.
14 3 28. Multi-use path along Boneyard from downtown to campus.
17 2 11. Creatively engage public and university students in Urbana information gathering process – specifically the budget process.
17 2 15. Complete Urbana’s main gateway corridors.
17 2 21. Provide greater incentives for small business owners.
17 2 24. Work with other governmental agencies on family focused, transitional, affordable housing.
17 2 26. Promote downtown visitor and tourism as a point of interest.
22 1 25. Final resolution of sewer lateral issue.
22 1 30. Make Urbana a regional-national center for health, wellness, exercise, organic farming, natural food distribution, and alternative medicine.
22 1 22. Complete downtown design overlay.
25 0 6. Maintain and enhance the health of our urban forest.
25 0 13. Review and retool campus to downtown plan.
25 0 16. Complete the Boneyard Founders Park.
25 0 23. Update downtown plan, transit center and jail.
25 0 27. Work with University master planning as it influences Urbana.
25 0 29. Continue to search for funding, and support, permanent art Installations
Mr. Kruidenier then recapped the roles of council members and himself in this process. He suggested focusing on 3 to 5 priorities on top of the statement of core city funtions by developing an area of agreement. He noted that everyone submitted their responses to the priorities list emailed out and that he tallied the results noting there were comments included. He repeated the statement of core city functions as maintaining core municipal functions such as public infrastructure, public safety, neighborhood services and economic development. The council and mayor agreed citywide priorities for 2018-2021 developed will not be at the exclusion of other citywide goals and each will require partnerships and collaborations with other agencies and organizations.
CCM Brown asked if there will be an opportunity to include some prioirities down on the list by combining into top priorities to which Mr. Kruideneir responded that if they fit within the framework of the priority. Mr. Kruidenier stated the top 3 priorities in response to Mayor Marlin’s request. CMM Roberts commented that there are a lot of things to work on in the list and he’s bothered by focusing on just a few items. Mr. Kruideneir recommended taking a look at each priority, one at a time, and see if it incorporates all that it should, asking council members to note where something is lacking. Additional discussion followed on reorganization of priorities, the limiting nature failing to include goals that could be achieved, and combining pieces into a larger focus. Mayor Marlin noted that we need to be intentional in what we want to accomplish in light of the budget issues that the city faces. We need to be selective about what we do the next 2 or 3 years. CMM Jakobsson added that as much as these goals are competitive, we should look at synergies between goals.
Discussion of the top ranked priority, item 10 Lincoln Square redevelopment began. With the thought of combining priorities, CCM Wu suggested adding (from the priorities list) items 10, 14, and 4 plus 21 as a single overriding priority. CCM Robersts noted that Lincoln Square is downtown and is different from SE Urbana (item 14) and that we need a vision for Downtown, that correlates with Lincoln Square. CCM Brown commented that items 4 and 21 are implementation steps, not really priorities and CCM miller agreed that it would be hard to combine items 10 and 14. Mayor Marlin stated that economic development isn’t going to stop and she advocates for focus. It doesn’t exclude other things. Discussion of Lincoln Square visioning followed where collaborations and connections are already being made. Council finalized the first priority as just item 10. Mr. Kruidenier noted this as: With consideration of the downtown as a whole, initiate and plan for transformation of the Lincoln Square site into a destination.
CMM Brown proposed expanding the 2nd priority to include employment rates for African Americans in general by working towards equity in employment rates for African Americans. This brings in other goals. CMM Miller’s immediate thought would be what can the city do – what do we control? CCM Brown replied that we have an ordinance in place and HRCommission -- that there are work force development issues and employment . Mr. Kruidenier proposed language to blend these items. CCM Brown noted that very few Urbana contractors are involved in union education programs. CCM Jakobsson noted that there are several components related to this and that the HRC could be charged with some of these suggestions, those which are the most feasible towards racial and economic justice. CMM WU statetd that issues about race and equity are broader wondering what actions the city can take and actually do. CCM Ammons stated that advocacy is part of the goal and CCM Miller suggested developing a system to incentivize and advocate for equity and increased employment rates for minorities. CCM Ammons indicated he desired actual and loftier goals of 20% and that the city goal piece is the focus. Mr. Kruidenier noted this priority as: Increase minority participation in city procurement, hiring and contracting and, working with the Human Relations Commission, develop a system to incentivize and advocate for equity and increased minority employment rates, with subset goals as:
Goal – 20% minority participation in city procurement, hiring and contracting.
Goal – increase minority employment rate 1% / year for the next three years.
Council members quickly agreed on the next priority, equity in traffic stops, item 18, but adding in item 19. Mr. Kruidenier noted this as: Work toward equity in traffic stops and reduce disparate impact of court costs and fines lower income people.
Mr. Kruidenier noted that there were now 3 priorities and the next item of highest support was item 17 expanding the Kickapoo Rail Trail between Vine and Lincoln. There was brief discussion of adding the next priority with CCM Roberts noting that activating and bringing people to the downtown is to we move people via these creative pathways. CMM Brown noted that this is part of bike master plan with a lot of development potential so a worthy priority. Mr. Kruidenier noted this as: Expand connectivity of Rail Trail with a focus between Vine and Lincoln. Discussion followed about adding a fourth item and there was unanimous support.
Mr. Kruidenier noted that there are now 4 and discussed whether anything else really needed to be added to this list, something egregious. CMM Wu proposed item 5, existing housing stock, as different from the other items on the list. CMM Jakobsson has proposed a sustainability tax to reduce carbon footprint but enhance economic justice as the funds would be used to improve weatherization and gas to electric conversion in low income neighborhoods. Consensus was achieved and Mr. Kruidenier noted this as: Invest in and repurpose older housing stock.
Mr. Kruidenier noted that there were now 5 priorities and that he would be getting these back to the council in the coming week. His caution was that this is a lot and will take energy and budget. Mayor Marlin thanked Mr. Kruidenier for his work.
There being no further business to come before the City Council, Mayor Marlin declared the meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.