Early last week, Council member Kshama Sawant turned her committee hearing into a political rally to demand that the Council overturn the Human Services Department’s RFP results and restore funding for organizations that lost funding, most notably SHARE, WHEEL, The Women’s Referral Service, and an Urban Rest Stop. After some behind-the-scenes shuttle diplomacy by Council member Teresa Mosqueda, the Council did that very thing this afternoon.
This evening Council member Kshama Sawant held a special meeting (video) of her Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee. According to the agenda, the meeting was to discuss “Human Service Department (HSD) funding cuts to the women’s homeless service programs operated by the Women’s Housing, Equality, and Enhancement League (WHEEL) and the Women’s Referral Center.” And it was, but not quite the way you’d expect.
This morning the Progressive Revenue Task Force held its second meeting, the first with substantive discussions of the issues. There were some important insights that help clarify the picture of the need — and the possible ways to address it.
(updated 1/19/18 10:00am — the city provided updated slides with corrections for bad data and incorrect math)
This evening the Office of Housing held a public hearing on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed affordable housing project at the old Fort Lawton site in Magnolia. It was a standing-room-only crowd, and the vast majority of speakers voiced their support for the project.
This morning the Progressive Revenue Task Force held its first meeting, and mostly just decided what its other meetings will be about.
This afternoon, Mayor Tim Burgess and Human Services Department Director Catherine Lester announced funding grants to human services providers as a result of the $34 million RFP published earlier this year.
On Tuesday this week, the Council voted down an employee-hours tax (aka a “head tax”). In doing so, several Council members who voted “no” voiced their support in theory for a head tax and committed to working on a process with a broad group of stakeholders to evaluate a head tax — and other progressive revenue-raising options — and come back with a specific proposal. On Wednesday, Council member Gonzalez began circulating a draft resolution to that extent, which she hopes to have the Council approve on Monday.
Monday afternoon Budget chair Lisa Herbold released her “revised balancing package” proposal for the 2018 city budget. Tuesday morning she begins to lead her fellow Council members in deliberations and votes on the items in the package.
The big contentious issue, the employee-hours tax (or “HOMES tax,” or “head tax”), is still in the package, and in fact will be the first item up for discussion and vote. It won’t be pretty.
At the request of Council member Lisa Herbold, the Office of the City Auditor has generated a comprehensive plan for information-gathering and evaluation of the city’s Navigation Team.
Yesterday the City Council spent most of the day looking at 59 proposals to further refine the proposed budget for 2018. And a few of them got heated.