Here’s what went down in the virtual Council Chambers today.
This afternoon the City Council voted 7-1 to approve an amendment to the 2020 “rebalanced” budget that codifies a compromise deal reached last week on how the city will fill the gap left by the demise of the Navigation Team for the remainder of the year. In the arrangement, the Council partially lifted restrictions on $250,000 to fund a team of eight people in the Human Services Department to coordinate the response to homeless encampments. In return, the Mayor has agreed to move forward with getting over $2 million of additional funding out to homeless outreach and service providers this year. The new HSD team will not include police officers, and will not directly perform outreach to homeless individuals; instead it will provide support, city resources and coordination for third-party providers. Council member Sawant voted against the bill, and Council member Juarez was absent today.
Attached to the bill today is a carefully-worded statement of “Shared Principles and Agreed Framework for Response to People Living Unsheltered,” which was being edited right up until the Council took up the bill this afternoon. The statement has apparently been agreed to by the Mayor, Council members, and representatives of the homeless service provider community. Later this week as part of the 2021 budget development process, the Council will take up the same set of issues for next year — and they hope that the framework will make that process a bit easier.
This morning the Council discussed two related bills that are coming up for final votes next Monday: one would grant a 99-year lease on the old Fire Station 6 building to the Africatown Community Land Trust, and the other would transfer ownership of the Central Area Senior Center to the non-profit community organization that operates it. Both of these transactions have been in the works for many years. The Senior Center transfer is under the auspices of a 2015 state law authorizing transfer without remuneration to organizations that perform social services, so that they may continue to perform those services on site.
A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said that a similar transfer agreement for the Greenlake Senior Center is in the works.
Today Budget Chair Teresa Mosqueda released the schedule for this week’s budget deliberations on the “Form B” submissions by Council members last week. “Form B” submissions are specific, detailed amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget. At this stage they don’t need to be “self-balancing,” i.e. they can propose additional spending without corresponding revenues or cuts, but all of the Form B’s needed to have at least three Council members as sponsors. The Council will discuss all of the Form B’s this week, and then Mosqueda will incorporate some of them into a “Chair’s balancing package” that will form the basis of the next round of deliberations.
Here’s what the schedule of topics looks like for the budget deliberations this Wednesday through Friday:
Wednesday, October 28:
- City Budget Office
- Dept of Education & Early Learning
- Dept of Neighborhoods
- Finance and Administrative Services
- City Attorney’s Office
- Legislative Department
- Office for Civil Rights
- Office of Economic Development
- Office of Housing
- Office of Inspector General
- Office of Intergovernmental Relations
- Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs
- Office of Planning and Community Development
- Seattle Employees Retirement System
- Seattle Public Libraries
- Seattle Public Utilities
Thursday, October 29:
- Citywide budget changes
- Finance General
- Human Services Department
- Office of Sustainability & Environment
- Parks and Recreation Department
- Seattle Dept of Construction and Inspections
- Seattle Information Technology
- Seattle Fire Department
Friday, October 30:
- Seattle Dept of Transportation
- Seattle Police Department
Next week the City Budget Office will provide an updated revenue forecast to the Council; then on November 10, Mosqueda will release her Chair’s Balancing Package.
A side note, as preview to what is to come (or not to come) later this week: this morning, Council member Sawant noted that none of her colleagues would co-sponsor her “Form B” proposals to cut SPD by 50% and to increase the recently-passed payroll tax. That doesn’t mean that the Council won’t make cuts to SPD and look for new revenue sources; it just means it won’t be those specific ones.
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