Council: Back in Action
Members return to a lengthy to-do list
City Council returns to the dais today, Thursday, Aug. 9, with a full slate of 113 Items, including the long-awaited changes to our Chapter 380 economic incentives; extension of Integral Care's Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team; and a temporary police sick leave donation policy. There'll also be public hearings on the proposed property tax rate (see this week's budget feature), the lowest it's been since 2010, though complaints are still sure to come – and members need to finalize the bond package for this November.
Due to a confluence of events, today's meeting, Council's first "regular" meeting since June, is already their fifth this week. On Monday, after a noon Capital Metro work session on Federal Transit Administration grants, members took in City Manager Spencer Cronk's first budget proposal presentation. Mayor Steve Adler was Council's only representative to make comments at that event, so expect to hear a few interjections from members today about which needles they'd like to move.
If Monday's double-up wasn't enough, Tuesday's morning work session featured a briefing on the Seaholm Waterfront Project, which will revitalize the old power plant district. Then, after considering a cluster of legal items in executive session, members moved to an afternoon session on Precourt Sports Ventures' proposal to bring a soccer stadium to McKalla Place, which goes to a vote today (see "Pick your plan for McKalla Place"). Council continues to sift through the agreement for the pesky details. Last weekend, CM Alison Alter posted a New York Times story to Council's online message board that details the economics of Major League Soccer, particularly how players are developed and swapped between clubs. Alter has questioned why the agreement counts the team's proposed Youth Development Academy – an MLS requirement – as a $48 million community benefit.
MLS and the annual budget process seem puny in comparison to the anvil dropped last week when Adler suggested scrapping CodeNEXT and hitting reset on a comprehensive land development code rewrite ("So Goes CodeNEXT"). Council is expected to vote to terminate the process today, and the issue is already being seized upon by those vying to replace Council's incumbents in this November's election, a dynamic sure to last throughout the fall.
Unfortunately, the demise of CodeNEXT doesn't mean fundamental disagreements on density get to be buried along with it. Unless there's a substantive shake-up in November, we'll continue to see those manifest themselves on the dais for the foreseeable future.