Emergency Declaration Update
The Mayor gave a short update on the emergency declaration to begin the work session. The COVID-19 virus continues to disproportionately impact the Westside. We are getting more testing but it’s still not enough. The Mayor is trying to do multi-lingual announcements and information videos to connect with everyone. We know that we are still under the orange threat level. So many Westsiders cannot work from home as they are in essential services or jobs that don’t work remotely. Many others have lost their jobs, even temporarily. These are difficult times. Please reach out to neighbors to help. The City has some resources to help, as does the county. No strings attached. The schools are offering help at least for the next two weeks. Please help each other to make it through this.
Proposed City Budget Briefings
Department of Community and Neighborhoods Budget
Flat budget. One seemingly small piece of this budget that may make a big difference in the city this summer: Advantage Services cleaning contract. Due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, we have many unsheltered homeless individuals across the city. So long as they are not congregating in larger numbers, this is likely the best option of many bad ones, to keep people safe from viral transmission. The city has contracted with homeless outreach providers and county health department nurses to provide daily outreach services to these individuals. Along with these services, we need to provide some outdoor, public cleaning services. Thus, the contract with Advantage Services which is a great organization that has provided this service downtown for several years.
Flat Budget. We should find money to fund more mobile cameras. They are a good deterrent for many common problems and relatively inexpensive ($40k?). One major struggle we have is sacrificing the fleet rotation this year to help balance the budget. $4 million is what we save by not investing in the fleet vehicles this year. However, we also know that we have been so far behind in rotating vehicles that we lose money each year on maintenance costs. We should return this funding in future years asap. Thank you to our Police Officers and staff. Sorry it’s not more.
City Employee Budget
Flat Budget. No increases this year. No layoffs although we will be leaving many open positions unfilled this coming year to save money. I always wish we could pay more, but we also are hovering around 95% of the comparable jobs for most city offices so we are at least keeping up. And City staff rarely get enough credit and always take too much blame so they deserve anything we can do to help. Thank you, City staff. Sorry, it’s not more.
YouthCity Government State of the City
I am so impressed with these teens each year, and the young women who presented tonight were exceptional. I am struggling to comprehend the current world and hearing their views and beliefs reminds me how far advanced they are compared to me as an 18yr old. There are challenges ahead for all of us and perhaps even more so for our youth. But hearing them renews my hope that what’s right with us (collectively) is enough to fix what’s wrong with us. Good luck to you all as you work through the next chapters of your lives.