Notes from today’s Council meetings

Call it Uptown, please.

This afternoon, the City Council gave its final approval to a modification to the “Jump Start” payroll tax, which creates an alternative method for determining the extent to which an employee’s wages are subject to the tax. See my separate story for the details.

The Council also approved allocating $22.7 million of federal relief funding for renter assistance. According to Councilmember Mosqueda, the city projects that it can aid between 6000 and 9000 renters across the city with the funds.

Additionally, the Council approved $700,000 in funding to combat anti-Asian hate crimes. The original bill included a proviso on $150,000 in SPD’s budget that would direct it toward creation of a new “hate crime prevention coordinator” civilian position within the police department, but after complaints from advocates about involving SPD and allegations that the Mayor’s Office misrepresented community organizations’ support for its proposal, the Council amended the bill to eliminate SPD’s involvement and instead allocated $150,000 in the Department of Neighborhoods’ budget to contract with a community-based organization to the same kind of work.

Finally, this afternoon the Council passed a resolution that asks us all (including Google Maps) to refer to the neighborhood around the Seattle Center as “Uptown” and now “Lower Queen Anne.”

This morning, Councilmember Morales announced that her next Community Economic Development Committee meeting will be on April 20.  At that meeting she expect to have representatives from the Mayor’s Office present on the two options they have laid out for proceeding with a Participatory Budgeting program this year. She is also inviting individuals from the Participatory Budgeting Project, and officials from Boston and New York who have run PB programs in the past.

Councilmember Pedersen announced that his next Transportation and Utilities Committee meeting will be on April 21, and will include a continuation of deliberations on Seattle Public Utilities’ proposed strategic plan update and six-year rate path.

Councilmember Herbold announced that there were two items that she had originally hoped to get on the agenda for her Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting tomorrow, that she now expects will be taken up on April 27:

  • An update from the Human Services Department on their new Safe and Thriving Communities division, which includes staff working on combating domestic violence and promoting youth safety. Herbold noted that HSD is currently recruiting a Director for the division.
  • Council Bill 119981, the proposed $5.4 million cut to SPD’s budget. Herbold said that they are still waiting for feedback from the court-appointed police monitor, who in turn is still waiting for SPD to answer a list of questions it submitted.

Councilmember Lewis announced that his next Homelessness Strategy and Investments Committee meeting, originally scheduled for April 28, has been rescheduled for May 6.

Councilmember Juarez announced this morning that SDOT will be installing the new pedestrian/bike bridge over I-5 at Northgate over two weekends in May. The northbound lanes of I-5 will be closed overnight on May 8, and the southbound lanes will be closed overnight on May 15.

Juarez also mentioned that she is working with community members on the creation of a Business Improvement Area designation for the Northgate area, given the significant changes happening particularly around the new NHL training facility.

Councilmember Morales noted this morning that the city has issued an RFP for the next round of Equitable Development Initiative funding. Proposals are due June 6th.

Morales also announced that the Department of Neighborhoods is soliciting proposals for implementing the “street sink” initiative, with funding expected to be awarded in May.

Finally: this afternoon the Council issued a proclamation honoring Kim Pham, founder of the Northwest Vietnamese News, who passed away recently.

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