Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 9:29 a.m.
Mayor Nadine Woodward focused on collaborative accomplishments and next steps as she detailed an outlook that is cautious and realistic during her annual Statement of Conditions and Affairs address to the City Council.
Woodward discussed advancements in public safety, homelessness, housing, and economic development even during the challenges of the global pandemic, and pointed out that the progress is a starting point. She also acknowledged the considerable contributions of the City’s 2,000 employees who have adapted to continued changes in pandemic guidance and financial impacts, which are approaching $20 million, to keep services running at a high level. General Fund revenue is projected to be up nearly $6 million in 2022, which would still fall $5.3 million short of the pre-COVID revenue trend.
“I am proud of the accomplishments we have made and the service continuity we have achieved in the face of adversity,” Woodward said. “It’s a credit and testament to the great City team that has worked tirelessly to make sure streets are maintained, calls for help are answered, spaces are accessible to host activities and events, wastewater is disposed of properly, businesses are supported, and people’s everyday needs are met.”
Specifically, Woodward said new investments in police department tools and programs continue to enhance the department’s ability to be responsive and accessible. More consistent contracting for homelessness services has introduce greater predictability and filled gaps in the system. Numerous new hires and other resources have begun addressing demands created by residential housing activity that is up 70 percent from 2019, the last full year of activity before the pandemic.
Finally, Woodward stressed the importance of collaboration and partnership with advancing critical needs during uncertain times. She released her draft preliminary budget last week and expects to complete her final version by November 1.
“Our organization, our city, our region are strong, resilient partners that continue to impress me with their ability to pull together to achieve the unthinkable,” Woodward said. “Many of the things we discussed tonight are important connections to the bigger picture of a thriving community and region that is mightier for having gone through the challenges over the better part of the past two years.”