This morning, the City Council’s Budget Committee received a briefing on the revenue outlook for the rest of 2019 and beyond, as well as the overall financial condition of city government. The theme running under all of it: winter is coming.
Today the City Council held a 10-minute meeting and passed an amended version of the funding-acceptance bill that they dropped on the floor on Monday.
I noted on Monday that the City Council stumbled in attempting to approve a typically routine grant-acceptance ordinance, and ended up in a parliamentary rathole — all because of a $90,000 line-item in which ICE reimburses SPD for costs related to joint narcotics enforcement activities at the Port of Seattle.
The Council has scheduled a special meeting for noon tomorrow (Wednesday) to resolve this mess. The Council will take up an amended version of the bill that strikes the ICE reimbursement but leaves the rest of the line-items intact. Passing it will require five “yes” votes, but with the ICE reimbursement line-item removed, that should no longer be an issue.
At the beginning of 2018 the City of Seattle commissioned a study to look at the feasibility of creating a municipal bank. Those study results were released yesterday. It says that in theory the city could create its own bank, but there are significant legal, logistical, regulatory and financial challenges to doing so.
This afternoon, the City Council voted to send Seattle City Light’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan out of committee and to the full Council for final approval on July 9th, along with some direction on how to address the power utility’s biggest issues.
You may recall that last year the City told Wells Fargo Bank that it would not be renewing its contract for bank depository service, and began the process of issuing an RFP for a new bank. Yesterday morning the Council got an update on that process, and the news is not good — though it may expedite the process of achieving the city’s long-term goal of running its own bank.
We talk about companies in funny ways. Sometimes we anthropomorphize them, as many have with Amazon over the past couple of days while discussing the company’s decision to pause construction of its new office tower or whether it can afford to pay an additional $20 million a year in taxes. Company executives, on the other hand, will often justify decisions as necessary to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to “the shareholders,” i.e. the often faceless owners of the company’s stock who vote for the board of directors, and by proxy control who is running the company and making key decisions.
Given our current collective concern over Amazon’s outsized presence in Seattle, it’s worth asking: who are Amazon’s shareholders?
Today Mayor Tim Burgess transmitted to the City Council his signature plan for a city-wide retirement savings program for employees of private employers.