Notes from today’s Council meetings

With one week left in the budget process, and one month left before the Council goes on its December recess, the Councilmembers’ agendas are getting short and focused and the meeting schedule is filling in with several last-minute committee meetings..

This afternoon the Council cranked through final approval of a handful of land-use bills, including a contract rezone, an alley vacation, and an easement for a sewer line. Definitely not sexy stuff, but it all needed to be done.

This morning Councilmember Strauss announced that his Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee will hold a special meeting on December 3, followed by its regularly-scheduled meeting the following week.

Council President Gonzalez announced that she will be holding two special meetings of her Governance and Education Committee on December 1 and December 8, to hold deliberations on an update to the Council’s procedural rules.

In a major loss for the city, last Friday was the final day fro Emily Alvarado as Director of the Office of Housing; she started a new job today as Vice President, Pacific Northwest Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners. Robin Koskie will take over as interim Director, presumably until Mayor-elect Harrell appoints a permanent successor to Alvadaro.

Councilmember Herbold said this morning that SDOT has completed negotiations on the contract for repairs to the West Seattle Bridge, and plans to issue the Notice to Proceed next week. The final price tag is within budget.

Councilmember Juarez noted that the Parks Department recently signed a gift agreement with Bullitt Foundation for property on Capitol Hill; SCC Insight is working to get more information.

Councilmember Morales said that she has been meeting with stakeholders to discuss ongoing public safety issues in two locations: 12th and Jackson in Little Saigon, and the vicinity of the Mount Baker light rail station.

This morning Budget chair Teresa Mosqueda previewed the schedule for this week’s Budget Committee meetings; the list of the final round of amendments is expected to be published on Wednesday in advance of the big meeting on Thursday in which the committee will vote on the balancing package and perhaps some additional amendments.

Mosqueda also went to great lengths to defend and try to “set the record straight” in her view on the nature of her balancing package’s cuts to the Mayor’s proposed SPD budget. Her comments were mostly in response to a Seattle Times editorial over the weekend critiquing the SPD budget cuts and claiming that Mosqueda and the Council had not properly consulted with the court-appointed police monitor. Mosqueda claimed that was not true.

In other budget-related comments, Councilmember Pedersen noted the failure of the University Bridge over the weekend and praised the proposed budget balancing package for including additional funding for bridge maintenance. Also, Councilmember Sawant said that she has submitted a final-round budget amendment that would increase the Office of Housing’s budget for affordable housing by hundreds of millions of dollars, and the budget for Green New Deal projects by $85 million; the additional spending would be paid for by increasing the payroll tax.

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