This is my last Council meeting recap! Can you believe it? I will be doing one last Councilmember blog post next week, discuss my next steps, and send out my new contact info…so stay tuned!
The last two Council meetings were very eventful, including adopting the 2018 Budget and the City’s first Joint Strategic Plan, along with a list of strategic investments for the next two years.
On Monday, December 11th, Council voted to adopt a Budget and a City Strategic Plan on 7-0 votes. There were some motions to adjust various positions in the Utilities division budget by CM Stratton. I supported some of these and opposed some of these, but in the end Council was able to unanimously approve a budget that includes funding for 10 more police officers, funding to grade alleys, pave some unpaved streets, and finish building the underground tanks to keep pollutants out of the Spokane River, just to name a few significant items.
Council and Administration have been developing a City Strategic Plan for the past 16 months. It’s truly been a collaborative effort. I have lead the effort from the Council side and Rick Romero on behalf of the Mayor. We had a wonderful leadership team that helped guide the development of the Plan, which pulls goals from our Comprehensive Plan, prioritizes strategies and aligns the City across departments. I have confidence that this Plan will be implemented because it is already underway and Council has created the process through our committees and legislative process to stay focused on outcomes and deliver real results to our citizens. You can read my blog post about why a strategic plan matters to you!
Not only did we adopt the Plan by resolution (7-0), but we also attached a list of $51M+ in strategic on-time investments over the next 2 years in our streets, public safety, trails and housing using various funds and reserve dollars at the City. Watch the video for more info!
On December 18th, City Councilmembers and staff put together a very nice reception for me prior to the Council meeting and gifted me my own “WALDREF” nameplate signed by Mayor, Council and Cabinet members. That was so special!
On the agenda, Council approved (7-0) the traffic calming projects across the City for 2018 using the Photo Red and school zone revenues. We also approved a new resolution that sets the parameters for use of the school zone camera dollars only for school-related safety improvements. Council also expanded (6-1, Fagan opposed) the school zone cameras to two new locations where speeds are the highest in the City — both in the Northwest neighborhoods.
We approved (7-0) changes to the Spokane Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) to increase both the employee and employer contribution rates in order to ensure sustainability of the fund.
I worked with CP Stuckart to pass a resolution (7-0) to ensure Freya St in East Hillyard (Garland to Francis) will be completely rebuilt in the next several years. This is a key economic development area with the North South Corridor being built over the next 10 years.
Finally, Council approved changes to our elections code per the advocacy of CP Stuckart (6-1 Fagan opposed). It will cap contributions to campaigns at $500 per election. It will also limit campaign contributions with companies who are contracting with the City. It will also require more transparency of Political Action Committee (PAC) top donors.