North Precinct resolution moving forward this afternoon

Council member Lorena Gonzalez earned her pay this month. After she and Council member Debora Juarez met last week with representatives of the #BlockTheBunker group, and listening to the concerns of her colleagues on the Council, she appears to have found a path forward for the North Precinct station project that a supermajority of the Council can get behind.

She distributed a new draft resolution this morning incorporating some changes – both to the process moving forward and to the way the Council thinks about next steps.

Key to the new approach is that the resolution no longer gives tacit approval to the proposed $149 million price tag. Instead, it asserts that the amount to allocate for the project should be decided in the 2017-2018 budget development process starting in October.

Between now and then, the Council is instructing FAS to do two things:

  1. Hire an independent third-party cost estimator to review the project and look for other cost savings opportunities. The estimator will be kept on through the duration of the project to continuously look for savings.
  2. Complete a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis of the project by October 3rd.

FAS will be required to giver regular reports to the Council, both leading up to the budget process and through the construction process. Those reports will touch on cost issues, timelines, project risks, and the results and outcomes of the enhanced community engagement process they are now undertaking.

Council members Harrell, Herbold, Johnson, and O’Brien all expressed their thanks to Gonzalez for her work to improve the resolution to address their concerns. Herbold, Johnson and O’Brien last week had all been outspoken critics of the North Precinct project.

In this afternoon’s Full Council meeting, expect the resolution to be introduced, followed by lots of speechifying and then a vote to pass it (with Council member Sawant, if present, the possible sole “no” vote).