Community Updates from Council Member Kristina Walker

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Its Budget Time!

Last week, we received our first look at the City Manager’s proposed 2021-2022 budget. You can see the presentation here, and you can also view the entire proposed budget on the City’s website.

In 2021-2022, we face a $40 million dollar General Fund shortfall due to COVID-19 impacts, which means we see cuts to programs and services to balance the budget. We’ve heard the community’s interest in prioritizing community focused services over traditional Tacoma Police Department services, and one option we are considering is a new Office of Community Safety. The proposed budget puts aside money to stand up this possible new office, but provides little detail in order to allow the community to lead the process and tell us what this new office should look like. I’m looking forward to those conversations in partnership with the community through our Heal the Heart of Tacoma initiative that we passed last week that will establish a community body to lead our transformation efforts. You can find the resolution on the City’s website to learn more. I’m also delighted to see my requests to support continued investments in sidewalks and crosswalks, supporting Project Peace with a full-time employee as well as language access were included in the proposed budget.

Over the next six weeks, Council will receive detailed presentations from each department to better understand the proposed changes and the impact that those changes will have on the department. It is so valuable and important to hear your thoughts and priorities at this stage of the proposed budget discussions! You are welcome to participate in the following ways:

  • Attend a Conversation Hour with me on Monday, October 19 or Tuesday, October 20
  • Send me an email anytime
  • Participate using the City’s Balancing Act Tool
  • Speak at two public hearings on the budget (Tuesday, October 27 and Tuesday, November 10)

I also want to let you know about a community town hall meeting the City will host over Zoom on October 21st at 6pm. There is a Facebook event page here. The Mayor and Council will be in attendance and staff will provide a briefing on the budget and offer an opportunity to ask questions.  

The budget will be finalized on November 24, 2020 at the regular Council Meeting, starting at 5 PM.

I look forward to working with you throughout this process!

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Connecting with Constituents

In an effort to communicate with more of you during the pandemic, I am offering open “office” hours on Zoom twice a month. Bring any concerns or items for discussion for this roundtable-style hour. The next Conversation Hour is Monday, October 19 from 5 to 6 PM, and Tuesday, October 20 from 8 to 9 AM. Just email to reserve your spot and get access details.

Mobility Access

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If you’ve been to the Pierce County Annex and Elections Center in the last couple of weeks, you’ve likely seen the construction of a new sidewalk and curb ramps that connects the Elections Center to the bus stop on South Pine Street, making it possible for people using mobility devices to safely access their right to vote.

This project, a joint effort between the City of Tacoma, Pierce County and Pierce Transit may be a relatively small piece of sidewalk, but it represents a huge step forward in connecting our city for everyone. The project will be completed before Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.