Plus, the city council eyes budget cuts and the county considers how to spend federal housing funds.
Important story, ICYMI: A Guardians Foundation employee confessed fraud a month before her name appeared on the city’s $6.5 million Trent shelter contract. This revelation raises questions about the Guardians’ internal processes and the city’s financial controls. Be sure to read the story here.
Housing Action Subcommittee
Landlord Tenant Ordinance: The Housing Action Subcommittee is discussing a draft ordinance aimed at regulating residential housing. The ordinance would require landlords to get a business license to rent more than two units, annual registration of rental properties with the city and mandatory online training for landlords. Some protections for tenants include requiring property owners to provide an information packet of their tenant rights and responsibilities, routine and periodic inspections of properties, anti-retaliation protections and a tenant legal fund. The ordinance would also begin the establishment of a universal background and credit check system for the city so prospective tenants don’t have to pay for multiple checks while searching for a unit.
Full agenda and draft ordinance here.
Thursday, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m.
City Council Briefing Center, Spokane City Hall – Basement
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also virtual on Microsoft Teams here.
Spokane City Council
Save the date: In the consent agenda, the city council will be setting dates for important upcoming hearings, including:
- Oct. 24: a public hearing on possible revenue sources for the 2023 city budget.
- Starting Nov. 7: hearings for review of the 2023 proposed city budget
- Nov. 14: hearing for the Citywide Capital Improvement Program 2023-2028
Pushing pennies: The rest of the city council meeting looks like it’s dedicated to moving money around. For example, $330,000 allocated to currently vacant engineering positions will be moved to spend on capital expenditures, including replacement construction trucks.
Also, the Office of Performance Management is asking for an increase of $100,000 to pay for a Program Manager to restart the Community Safety Initiative program. The workgroup was on pause during the pandemic and is made up of elected officials and department heads. According to the agenda, the group will be “working to develop solutions to positively impact the health/safety of Spokane’s citizens.”
Board of County Commissioners
The county commissioners have their Strategic Planning Meeting on Monday at 9 a.m. and it can be accessed virtually here. Then they have their Working Meeting at 2 p.m., which can be accessed virtually here. On Tuesday, they have their Regular Session on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Capital Budget Presentations: In their Working Meeting on Monday, the commissioners will be presented with capital budgets of the Sheriff (2 p.m.), Detention Services (3 p.m.), and Public Works (4 p.m.)
Housing Money: The only public hearing item in the commissioners’ Tuesday Regular Session is approving the Spokane County draft HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) American Rescue Plan Program (ARP) Plan for submission to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It would be a significant amendment to the 2022 Spokane County Annual Action Plan. The HOME ARP would provide one-time funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in order to provide housing, shelter, and supportive services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable populations at greatest risk of housing instability in the county.
Details for the Regular Session:
Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.
Public Works Building, 1026 West Broadway Ave.
Lower level, Commissioners’ Hearing Room
The meeting can be accessed virtually here.
Spokane Finance and Administration Committee
2020 Accountability Audit presentation: There’s not many details on this one, but state auditors have recently completed their 2020 Accountability Audit and in order to officially close it, they have to present their findings to the council.
2023 Budget Resolution: This resolution will lay out the city council’s requests to the mayor and city administration as they work on creating the 2023 budget. The council is requesting, among other things, that they reduce general fund expenses by at least 10 percent, that they don’t include ARPA spending that hasn’t already been approved yet, and that they do include any requested public safety capital expected to be spent in 2023. There will also be a Q&A between the administration and council right before the resolution vote.
Bicycle Advisory Board
New bike lanes: The Bicycle Advisory Board will be reviewing planned projects for 2022, which total about 7 miles of bike lanes. While three of the eight projects are complete (Post Street, Central Ave, Maple/Ash), four are in progress (Riverside Protected Bike Lanes, the Illinois Ave Protected Bikeway, Children of the Sun Trail from Columbia to River, Garland Ave Pathway) and one, (Cedar Street), is on hold. They’ll also be discussing and updating how they prioritize bike projects.