I’m leaving the next two weeks for a long-scheduled trip out of the country. City Hall will face plenty of decisions while I’m gone. Don’t fret, we’ll have other reporters on the stories.
Here’s a quick primer of what you can expect:
Tuesday: A key step in the push to raise the amount of tax revenue the city’s downtown redevelopment agency can raise and spend comes before the City Council. The increasing of the Centre City Development Corp.’s cap may sound bureaucratic, but much rides on this decision.
Second, last time they discussed this issue council members outside downtown delivered passionate defenses of services in their neighborhoods. (CCDC sequesters certain tax revenues inside of downtown that would flow to other neighborhoods and other government agencies if the cap is not lifted.) Why, they asked, should downtown benefit at their expense? A new report from the city’s Office of the Independent Budget Analyst might blunt that argument. It expects the whole city to benefit if the cap is increased.
Also, keep in mind that the council isn’t deciding if it will increase the cap on Tuesday. Instead, they will choose whether to spend $500,000 on a 12- to 18-month study examining the implications of a cap increase.
June 24 and June 30: Since October, the city has been negotiating with a Portland developer for a new City Hall. On June 24, the city is expected to receive a new cost estimate and less than a week later a council committee will discuss the project with an eye toward putting it on the November ballot. The most recent cost estimate was $432 million, but proponents say the project saves the city money in the long run. Opponents say cost savings are inflated.
June 28: The schoobrary’s day of reckoning. After 30 years of talk, the City Council is expected to make a final decision on building the $185 million downtown main library/charter school hybrid. We have a bunch of background. Private donors face a $32.5 million funding gap, a total some believe they’ll make and others don’t. We also showed the importance of the schoobrary’s budget and six council votes. For a full schoobrary explainer check here.
OK friends, I’ll see you in July.
— LIAM DILLON