Over one hundred people packed the chambers, and seventy-two people signed up to testify. A vast majority of them were for one thing: an earned sick and safe leave policy for the City of Spokane. After two years of work, and a couple of revisions and amendments, the council adopted an earned sick and safe leave policy on a 6-1 vote that gives employees at firms with ten or fewer employees twenty four hours of earned sick and safe leave, and employees at firms with ten or more employees forty hours. While it is not as strong a policy as I advocated for, I am proud of the work Council did on this and believe that this ordinance will have positive impact on the health, economic security and safety of our community. With the adoption of this policy, Spokane joins twenty four other cities in the country who have passed an earned sick and safe leave policy.
Councilmember Lori Kinnear sponsored the first resolution of her term asking the State legislature for funding to replace some of the public trees lost during the horrible wind storm we experienced a few weeks ago. I want to thank her for bringing this forward and working with Angel Spell (our Urban Forester) and Senator Billig on this resolution; as public trees remain a critical asset for our communitys health, well-being and resilience. Council passed this unanimously.
Council also considered a resolution I sponsored to support a ballot proposition for the general election of 2016 for the purposes of funding the Central City Line and other Spokane Transit Authority Projects in the Moving Forward Plan within the City limits. I brought this forward because I feel it is critical to the economic vitality of our community that our city maintain and improve our public transit system. It is my hope that the Spokane Transit Authority Board will move forward with a ballot proposition that is system wide so we will not have to go it alone; but if they are not able to, the citizens of the City of Spokane, who voted in favor of Proposition 1 back in April by quite a margin, deserve an opportunity to have their calls for an expanded transit system within our city limits heard. This resolution passed on a 6-1 vote.
Also on the agenda last night was a resolution approving the process to fill the council vacancy in District 2, a resolution I sponsored for request for responses (RFP’s) for proposals for affordable housing projects at select locations where combined sewer overflow facilities will be constructed, a resolution approving the appointment of Lisa Key as the New Director of the Planning Department, and an emergency budget ordinance to refinance bonds that will save the city and citizens of the City of Spokane money. All of these items were passed unanimously.