City council is set to vote on renter protections

CIVICS | Plus, another mayoral veto, this time on Spokane possibly purchasing Trent shelter

CIVICS | Plus, another mayoral veto, this time on Spokane possibly purchasing Trent shelter

City council will be interesting this week: there are final hearings on tenant protections and an ordinance that would cap food delivery fees. And following a contentious mayoral veto on property taxes, another mayoral veto is on the agenda for Monday.

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Spokane City Council

Tenant & Landlord protections: The city council will have their final hearing on establishing new housing codes meant to help Spokane landlords and tenants by establishing a universal background and credit check system, requiring proactive code enforcement and business licenses for landlords, establishing residential rental property damage mitigation, as well as legal services, relocation funds and anti-retaliation protections. For a good rundown of how landlords and tenant advocates feel about the issue, read Rebecca White at Spokane Public Radio here.

More mayor vetoes: A few weeks ago, the city council amended the six-year Citywide Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to add a potential new project to 2023: the purchase of the Trent shelter building and the installation of (actual, plumbed) restrooms and sleeping pods. The estimated cost of the project is $4 million. The capital plan also proposes an amendment to the Municipal Court Integrated Justice Center project that would decrease the total project cost in 2023 to $13 million. We couldn’t immediately find the old budget to understand how big of a savings this represents. This would be funded through American Rescue Plan (ARP) and loan funds. Council passed it on Nov. 14, and it seems to have flown under the radar newswise. Last week Mayor Nadine Woodward informed the council that she is vetoing those parts of the CIP.

In a Nov. 28 letter to the council, Woodward says her reasoning for vetoing the section is because the proposed purchase is unfunded and they haven’t been studied or reviewed enough.

Council will consider whether to override the Mayor’s veto on Monday. The original ordinance passed 5-2 (Councilmembers Bingle and Cathcart voting no). If those votes hold, it would be enough to override.

Food delivery fees: The council is also set to have the final hearing of an ordinance that would regulate how much food delivery apps, like DoorDash and UberEats, can charge restaurants for orders made through their platforms. It wouldn’t prevent those apps from increasing charges to the customers, however. Read more here.

Speak now or forever hold your peace: After five weeks of budget hearings, the council is set to have the final one on Monday. Read Daniel Walter’s rundown on the proposed budget here.

The big agenda: The council is also set to have its final hearing to adopt the city’s legislative agenda for the upcoming 2023 state legislative session. This is basically the funding requests and policy proposals Spokane is asking the state for. See the priorities by clicking on the resolution number in the agenda.

Agenda here.
Monday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also live streamed here.

Washington State Legislature

Speaking of the legislative session, NOW is a good time to get in all your calls and emails to your state legislators if you want a say in what they pass during the 105-day long session. Here are instructions from the legislature on how to participate in the process. Pre-filing of 2023 bills will start on Monday.

Public Safety & Community Health Committee

Reserves: The committee will discuss an ordinance that would require the city to maintain a minimum general fund reserve balance of 25% of ongoing expenses, among other requirements. That threshold would include revenue stabilization, contingency, strategic reserve funds and a tactical reserve balance. The ordinance was introduced by Council Member Cathcart and would also establish rules for replenishing the fund if it falls below the threshold.

This item will also be voted on in the City Council meeting later in the day.  

Recruiting update: There’s not much detail in the agenda, but Police Chief Craig Meidl is set to give the committee an update on recruiting efforts and retirements at the department.

Community health update: Again, there’s not much detail to this item, but the Spokane Regional Health District is set to give a community health update. With colds, the flu and RSV at high transmission levels regionally and with several councilmembers concerned about outbreaks of flu, COVID and very likely norovirus wreaking havoc in shelters and throughout the unhoused community, those are the most likely topics of discussion.

Agenda here
Monday, Dec. 5 at 1:15 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd
The meeting is also livestreamed here.

Board of County Commissioners

More budgets: In the commissioners’ Monday Working Session, the only thing on the agenda is the 2023 budget hearing, where the commissioners vote to adopt the budget for the year. You can see all the budget information from the roundtables held in November here.

Not a new tax: The commission will hold a public hearing at their Tuesday Regular Session to amend an ordinance that allows the county to use a portion of existing sales and use tax in order to fund a Health Sciences and Services Authority, which funds life and health sciences research in Spokane County. The ordinance was originally passed in 2007 and didn’t impose a new tax, it just allowed the county to take some sales tax money that would otherwise have gone to the state. The ordinance was originally set to expire January 1, 2023, but the state legislature in 2019 approved a bill that extended the expiration date of the tax to  January 1, 2038. This amendment is being made to reflect that change.

Working Session: Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. (virtual here, agenda here)
Regular Session: Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. (virtual here, agenda here)
Public Works Building, 1026 West Broadway Ave.
1026 W Broadway, Spokane, WA
Commissioner’s Hearing Room, Lower Level

Spokane Regional Transportation Council

More priorities: Just like all the other councils setting their plans for the next year, the SRTC will be discussing their 2023 Unified List of Regional Transportation Priorities and projects, a tool that tells legislators what the agency is working on so they can possibly allocate funding to those projects.

The council is also going to discuss their 2023 legislative priorities. This year’s draft starts off expanding resources to improve transportation safety in support of having zero road deaths and addressing road maintenance and preservation needs.

Agenda here
Thursday, Dec. at 1 p.m.
The meeting is hybrid with an access link in the agenda
421 W Riverside Ave, Suite 504

Community, Housing, and Human Services Board

The agenda wasn’t available at the time of publication, but should be available at the link below at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Agenda here (once posted)
Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m.
Council Briefing Center in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201

Spokane Park Board

This agenda also wasn’t available at the time of publication, but should be at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Agenda here (once posted)
Thursday, Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m.
Council Briefing Center
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd

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