Notes from today’s Council meetings

The Council got ARPA funding out the door this afternoon. That, and more, in the Monday recap.

This afternoon the Council passed a pair of bills that authorize the spending of $128 million in ARPA federal COVID relief funding, in a package they called the “Seattle Rescue Plan.” There were no last-minute amendments; Councilmember Lewis, who had raised concerns about caps to spending on downtown recovery projects when the spending plan was considered in committee, said that he had received assurances from stakeholders that the remaining funding was sufficient for the planned projects.

The Council also passed an update to the Seattle Housing Levy Administrative and Financing Plan for 2021 through 2023. The update increases subsidies for home ownership, and removes a dollar-amount cap on the Office of Housing’s authority to acquire property for affordable housing projects.

Also, the Council approved a low-interest loan for Seattle Public Utilities for financing the city’s share of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project. The $66 million twenty-year loan, at 1.2%, is expected to save the city $12 million over the lifetime of the loan compared to traditional bond financing.

This afternoon Councilmember Lewis introduced a bill that streamlines the process for the city to accept private donations in support of homelessness response programs. He emphasized his view that private donations are not a replacement for a steady flow of government money to support the programs, but he wants to support private/public partnerships and people who want to stand up to help.

This morning Councilmember Herbold announced her introduction of a revised version of the Council’s ban on “less lethal” weapons. She gave a quick summary of the changes from what was approved by her committee earlier this year, details covered in SCC Insight’s article yesterday on the bill.

Also this morning Councilmember Juarez said that she is preparing draft legislation acknowledging the trauma that indigenous children have experienced from residential and boarding schools in the United States and Canada, after recent harrowing revelations about Canada’s residential schools.

This morning Councilmember Strauss announced the agenda for Wednesday morning’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee meeting:

  • a public hearing on a bill relaxing rules for religious institutions to build affordable housing on properties they control;
  • a bill establishing landmark controls on the Bordeaux House;
  • A briefing by the Office of Planning and Community Development on its racial equity analysis of the Comprehensive Plan update process;
  • a quarterly report from the Department of Construction and Inspections on its permitting process.

Councilmember Mosqueda announced that her next Finance and Neighborhoods Committee meeting will be on July 9th. The agenda will include:

  • a bill lifting the grocery worker hazard pay mandate;
  • a property transfer in South Park;
  • some capital projects.

Councilmember Juarez noted that her next Public Assets and Native Communities Committee meeting will be moved from July 9th to July 16th. She also highlighted the Sound Transit Board meeting this week, in which the board will continue discussing potential ST3 realignment options in advance of a vote next month. Juarez pointed to a presentation that Sound Transit made to the Transportation and Utilities Committee last week.

Councilmember Pedersen noted this morning that Seattle CTO Saad Bashir will be departing at the end of the month. He has been serving in that role, heading the city’s IT department, for the past two and a half year, during which he has “cleaned house” on the department’s leadership ranks, in an attempt to upgrade the organization’s capabilities (and its reputation).

Councilmember Sawant mentioned this morning that her office has been meeting with representatives of the Garfield Superblock project, and has committed to working with them to get the funding that they need to move the project forward.

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