Council AM Recap 11/24/2015: 2016 Budget and City Legislative Agenda

Last night’s council meeting was budget night. After several months of hearings and collaboration with the administration on council priorities, the budget was passed 5-1 (with Councilmember Fagan voting against). In the 2016 budget cycle, council prioritized public safety funding, economic growth, fiscal health, maintenance and improvement of public infrastructure and the improvement of health and quality of life of our community. To that end, we requested funding for 12 hire ahead positions in the Fire Department, sustained funding of the COPS program, funding for the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council and increases in human service funding and neighborhood/business economic development. I specifically requested additional $100k in additional funding for homeless outreach after hearing from staff and service providers in the community about the need for better coordination and outreach; as well as $25K to plan for a future Emergency Medical Service levy and $25K for coordinated planning with Spokane Transit Authority. I want to thank Council President Stuckart for his hard work on coordinating budget priorities between council and the administration. In addition, the Council approved my request for $15k in matching funds for a cottage housing project that Transitions is currently planning.

The council unanimously approved the City of Spokane 2016 Washington State Legislative Agenda. Similar to last year’s agenda, I reached out to different jurisdictions and community groups to ensure that we collaborate with other cities on shared priorities and are aligning our legislative agenda with policy and capital needs in our area. The top four priorities for the City of Spokane in 2016 include ensuring stable funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at WSU, increasing funding for film and television production via the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, supporting a waiver of the two party consent rules regarding police video cameras and supporting changes to funding for regional support networks/regional behavioral health organizations that put a two year moratorium on penalties for the use of beds. To see the full legislative agenda, scroll to the bottom of this post. The council also unanimously approved the consolidation of a Local Improvement District.

Another item of interest: If you want the latest update on windtsorm recovery efforts, click here.


City of Spokane 2016 Washington State Legislative Agenda

Abbreviations denote similar or same item support from either 2015 or 2016 legislative agendas from others cities or organizations. See list at end of document.

Top Priorities for the City of Spokane:

  • Ensure stable funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at WSU, specifically accreditation funds (WSU).
  • Increase funding for film and television production with legislation such as the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (SB 6027), which expands funds available to the program to $10 million. (WFPAC)
  • Support of waiver of the two party consent rules pertaining to police video cameras (HB 1917), and other reforms that improve cities’ ability to implement police-worn body cameras. (SEA)
  • Changes to Regional Support Network/Regional Behavioral Health Organization funding to improve mental health/substance abuse services, including increasing the rate of payment for Medicaid clients and a two-year moratorium on penalties for the use of beds at Eastern State Hospital.(Spok Cty)

Other priorities of statewide interest the City of Spokane supports:

  • Creation of transportation network company regulations governing companies such as Uber and Lyft. (SB 5550).
  • Use of marijuana and vapor product proceeds for public safety and education as proposed (HB 2211). (SRHD)
  • Climate change policy action such as extending or creating additional solar power incentives, including a charger incentive proposed in SB 5892. (SEA)
  • The creation of a State bank (SB 5553), to consolidate state lending programs and improve educational lending to state residents.
  • Reform of Legal Financial Obligations, such as the Debtor’s Prison Bill (HB 1390). (SEA, HRC)
  • Airport economic development incentives such as sales/use tax exemption for building construction to be used by maintenance repair operators for commercial airplane repair and maintenance (SB 6047).
  •  Clear regulations for unmanned aircraft/drones that cover air safety in addition to privacy-related issues. (SEA).
  •  Passage of the Washington State Voting Rights Act, to reduce litigation and offer a clear path to improved political representation. (HRC)
  •  A death penalty moratorium. (SEA, WACADP, HRC)
  •  Increased capacity to fund emergency medical services by raising the maximum levy rate from 50 cents to 75 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value of property in the taxing district, to reflect the increased cost of providing service, similar to HB 1251.
  •  Changes to foreclosure process that enable municipalities to more effectively deal with abandoned properties.
  •  A change in law to allow cities to create regional fire authorities. (VAN)
  •  Strengthening distracted driving laws in line with federal standards in order to make Washington State eligible for federal funding. (SB 5656) (WTSC, SEA).
  •  Campaign finance reform that offers greater transparency as proposed in SB 5153. (SEA, TAC, BEL, OLY)
  •  Support for increased resources for the John Wayne Pioneer trail. (CHE, TEK)

Priorities Specific to the City of Spokane:

  • Increased storm water funding for Spokane’s Integrated Clean Water Plan: Cochran basin project. (BEL, TAC)
  • Support for a solution to charter school funding for charter schools authorized by a local school district.
  • Safety improvements for US 195 corridor inside the Spokane City limits.

Statewide Priorities from AWC with Strong Support from the City of Spokane:

  • Halt the diversion from critical infrastructure programs to help cities grow and prosper.
  • Ensure sufficient and flexible revenue for essential city services.
  • Help cities prepare for and address impacts of natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • Enhance the provision of much needed human service programs to address issues that drive increased homelessness and public safety costs.
  • Strengthen the Public Records Act in response to changing technology and burdensome requests.

Capital Priorities for the City of Spokane:

Top Priority: Funds for Riverfront Park Bridges ($6 million)

Other Priotities: Transitions cottage housing energy efficiency funds ($500k), Fish Lake Trail Bridges ($4 million), Spokane County Sportsplex Funding

Abbreviations: AWC: Associations of WA Cities, WTSC: Washington Traffic Safety Commission, BEL: Bellevue, CHE: Cheney, SEA: Seattle, TAC: Tacoma, TEK: Tekoa VAN: Vancouver, YK: Yakima, OLY: Olympia, SRHD: Spokane Regional Health District, HRC: Human Rights Commission, WACADP: Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, WFPAC: Washington Film Political Action Committee, Spok Cty: Spokane County.

Council recap

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