Here’s a quick update of the highlights from last night’s Council meeting:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-172: We approved a supplemental appropriation for approximately $3 million to various Metro agencies and departments. This had been deferred from the April 5 meeting.
Metro Finance was very helpful is getting Council members to understand which supplemental appropriations were completely appropriate (e.g., funding a new program) and which ones weren’t (e.g., failure to properly budget income and/or expenses). The agencies that got the most attention were the Farmer’s Market and the Municipal Auditorium. For the Farmer’s Market, nearly all of their shortfalls are due to the State taking back the North Shed – that’s going to be hard for the Farmer’s Market to deal with economically. As for the Municipal Auditorium, they had less revenue than they expected and more expenses than they expected. I expect that Council members will have some hard questions for them during the upcoming budget process.
Another interesting note is that the original resolution asked for $3.3 million in supplemental appropriations. At the last minute yesterday, the Election Commission withdrew their request for a $314,000 supplemental appropriation. I still need to learn more, but the first report I’ve heard indicates that they didn’t really need any supplemental funds?!? I’ll be curious to hear more about this.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2016-205: This resolution approved a $2 million lawsuit settlement. You can read the Council Analysis here (starting at page 6) for lots of details about this. Although we approved this, CM Pulley raised the question of whether we should be approving settlements for $2 million on 5 days notice to the Council. I thought we knew enough and voted in favor — you’ll see that the Council analysis indicates that the settlement was reasonable given the alternatives.
But, due to CM Pulley’s concerns, I think we’ll be seeing some new legislation soon requiring Metro Legal to provide the Council with a quarterly report listing out significant litigation matters and the amounts being sought from Metro for each case.
These were the important non-zoning measures that we passed yesterday.
Let me also give you a quick update about the Council’s Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. We had a very productive meeting on April 15. We managed to get most of the Committee to meet from 4 to 6 pm on a gorgeous Friday afternoon. The Committee agreed in principle at that meeting on several items of new legislation. In the coming weeks, I hope to see several new proposed ordinances and resolutions filed to address a wider range of affordable housing issues than just inclusionary zoning. I’ll talk about these in greater detail once the new measures are filed, hopefully within a few weeks.