On the evening of October 5th, 2020, the Committee of the Whole and City Council held their regular meetings, one of the agenda items being the 2021-2022 budget. During the City Council segment a public hearing was opened on this topic. Residents commented to support an anti-racist approach in the budget.
Residents called in during the public hearing in support of the #Stand4Justice budget demands proposed by community organizations and leaders. These include an equity commission, diverting funds to social services, achieving racial equity in city employment, and investments into Black communities to support Black homeownership, Black-owned businesses, scholarships and others. The city passed a resolution which oriented the business plan to include goals for anti-racism; the demand’s page states, this is about putting those promises into action. Residents have supported demands for anti-racism since June when groups like these arose across the country in an emboldened renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In addition to the budget demands, Rentonites expressed support for a Black Lives Matter Mural. These have been popularized nationwide, sprouting up in cities like Washington D.C., and nearby in Seattle, during the summer protests. One resident complained he felt the city was unnecessarily tying up the project in bureaucracy.
Residents also called in to support King County’s “Health through Housing” proposal. This was part of the budget changes proposed by County Executive Dow Constantine. The City Council voted unanimously against being part of the regional solution to homelessness, raising it’s own 0.1% sales tax, and opting out of any participation or contribution with the county. Tukwila, the same night, voted against their own local sales tax in favor of the county.
In under 10 minutes, the Renton City Council adopted its own local sales tax for housing unanimously, which means they will not have to contribute to, or participate in, the regional “Health Through Housing” sales tax proposed by @kcexec. https://t.co/LmW7KT4RCp— Erica C. Barnett (@ericacbarnett) October 6, 2020
The City Council also changed the city’s official paper to The Seattle Times; the mayor says they will continue to issue announcements through the Renton Reporter until the end of the year.