Michael Bushnell

Last Week’s City Council committee meeting schedule heard a number of ordinances important to Northeast residents including discussions in the Council Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee and the Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee.

Introduced by Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw, Ordinance #240197 would direct the city manager to “develop a plan to provide additional mechanisms for City residents and visitors with non-verbal language barriers or other impairments affecting communication to access City communications and resources equally.” After being passed out of the Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee, the ordinance advanced to the full council last Thursday, sailing through, passing on a 12-1 vote, and will take effect during the upcoming budget cycle. 1st District Councilman Nathan Willet was the lone dissenting vote on the ordinance

“The Lykins Neighborhood is thrilled at the passing of the ordinance” said Kelly Allen, President of the Lykins Trust. “We intend to continue organizing with our neighbors to make sure the new city department is high functioning and fully staffed.”

The Council’s Finance & Governance Committee met last Wednesday, February 21st as well, taking up Ordinance # 240046, that if passed, would have established a 180 bed, low barrier shelter at Hope Faith Ministries at Admiral Boulevard and The Paseo.

Mayor Quinton Lucas, sponsor of the ordinance, proposed a 45-day hold on the ordinance and re-visit the measure in early April. Evie Craig, President of the Paseo West neighborhood, stated that the 45-day hold allows for further discussion on the ordinance, up to and including a reduction of beds in the contract which could lead to a reduction of the contract amount. It could also lead to a re-issuance of the RFP as a whole. Once the City Manager’s office crafts a new ordinance, the committee will reconvene to determine a path forward.

Another ordinance, #240190, heard by the Finance and Governance Committee, seems to be stuck in limbo after being passed out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation earlier this month. This ordinance would appropriate $3-million from the Parks Sales Tax Fund to renovate and add additional playing fields to the soccer facility at 9th and Van Brunt Blvd.. The measure was referred back to committee by 3rd District Councilwomen Robinson and Patterson-Hazley for reasons that remain unclear.

After discussion in committee on February 21st that included impassioned testimony from youth from the Rgoyku Soccer Academy, Mattie Rhodes CEO John Fierro and NEAT Chairman Scott Wagner, all strongly recommending the passage of the ordinance so that construction could be complete for fall soccer leagues,  Councilwomen Patterson-Hazley and Robinson again stalled the ordinance, citing minor questions with park access and parking, causing no recommendation to be made to council to  pass the ordinance. It will be heard on the council’s “third read” calendar during the full council meeting on February 29th.