Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Spokane eliminates parking minimums in some areas … Florida audit looks at state procurement cards … and Columbus passes new anti-panhandling law.
Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention.
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: After lawmakers at the State Capitol “rebuffed his request for a special exit from the state's distressed municipalities status with expanded tax authority in place” last week, Mayor Eric Papenfuse declared a “state of fiscal crisis” in Pennsylvania’s capital city on Monday. At a press conference, the mayor announced a series of next steps for the city government, including a citywide hiring freeze—that also impacts new openings for police officers and firefighters—and a freeze on non-essential spending. “With the State Legislature's failure to act Friday to extend Harrisburg's taxing authority beyond Act 47,” Papenfuse said in a statement, “the City faces a looming financial catastrophe that will require immediate implementation of austerity measures to begin to close a projected $12 million budget deficit over the next three years.” [The Patriot-News / PennLive; City of Harrisburg via Nextdoor]
- Spokane, Washington: The Spokane City Council voted Monday to eliminate parking minimums in certain areas of Washington’s second most-populous city. Although the measure focused on parking, it is aimed at encouraging the construction of more housing in key corridors and core neighborhoods, including the downtown area. The measure was brought by City Council President Ben Stuckart, who recently tweeted: “We have to end policies that prioritize the temporary parking of vehicles over the permanent housing of people.” [KXLY; Spokesman-Review; @votebenstukart]
- New York City, New York: With a looming 15-month shutdown of subway service along the L line between Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan to allow for the reconstruction of the Superstorm Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tubes under the East River, New York City Department of Transportation officials have released their plans for creating a transitway along 14th Street in Manhattan to accommodate the buses that will replace train service. Cars would be banned along 14th Street, a major east-west thoroughfare, between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Although the Williamsburg Bridge won’t have a bus-only lane during the subway shutdown, there will be one lane reserved for vehicles carrying 3 or more passengers. [Daily News; Gothamist]
- Rutherford, New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy is mum on possible veto as a state budget deadline nears. [New Jersey Globe]
- Tallahassee, Florida: The Florida Department of Health failed to timely cancel state purchasing cards for 119 former employees, according to an audit. [News Service of Florida / Daily Business Review]
- Grand Rapids, Michigan: Ford Motor Co. is bringing its mobility challenge to Grand Rapids. [WOOD-TV]
- Montpelier, Vermont: Statehouse impasse ends; Gov. Phil Scott will let the state budget become law. [VTDigger]
- Chelsea, Alabama: The fastest-growing city in Alabama could buy the local sewer system via eminent domain. [AL.com]
- Columbus, Ohio: The Columbus City Council passed new aggressive panhandling rules. [WCMH / NBC4]
- Alexandria, Virginia: Alexandria hopes to combat side street gridlock due in part to GPS apps. [WTOP]
- Twin Falls, Idaho: Twin Falls aims for sustainable growth as Boise booms. [Boise State Public Radio]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.