Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: Tacoma considers budgetary impacts of a looming minimum wage increase.
Here’s some of what we’ve been reading over the three-day weekend …
SACRAMENTO, California: The Golden State is poised to make some of the biggest moves of any state to eliminate organic food waste from landfills as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like methane. That’s because, as The Sacramento Bee reports, in “a little-heralded move with potentially sweeping implications, the California Air Resources Board last month announced a push to halt disposal of nearly all organic waste by 2025. The shift would likely require building new processing facilities, prod cities and counties to develop ways to collect it, and add an extra trash-sorting step before Californians drag bins to the curb.” Next year, California cities and counties will have to develop plans to divert organic food waste. [The Sacramento Bee]
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: The issue of residency requirement for municipal employees can be a tricky subject in many jurisdictions that either have them or have considered them. That’s true in the Illinois state capital where Mayor Jim Langfelder wants to reinstitute residency requirements that were rescinded back in 2000. As The State Journal-Register reports, 433 Springfield city workers—roughly 30 percent of the total workforce—live outside the city limits. New rules being pushed by the mayor would grandfather in current workers who don’t live in the city. [State Journal-Register]
TACOMA, Washington: With a higher minimum wage, budget planners in public sector agencies have to think about whether their finances can accommodate higher wages. That’s happening in Washington state’s third-largest city. As The News Tribune reports, voters in Tacoma will be considering proposals to either raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2018 or raise it immediately to $15 per hour:
Some agencies say they can absorb the costs of a $12 minimum wage in their existing budgets, but the $15-an-hour scenario could mean cuts.
Metro Parks Tacoma, for example, would pay an additional $504,192 through 2018 under the $12 proposal. With the $15 option, it would pay $1.6 million more each year, totaling about $4.7 million through 2018. The agency’s two-year operating budget is about $140 million.
“If it’s approved, we will start exploring alternative budget scenarios,” Metro Parks spokesman Michael Thompson said about the $15 possibility. “It’s significant enough where I can’t really give you a good idea of what that would look like.”
Of the 1,255 employees Metro Parks employed in 2014, 866 made $12 an hour or less, and 166 made between $12 and $15.
In the city of Tacoma, if the minimum wage is immediately raised to $15 per hour, it’d force the city to spend $260,000 next year. [The News Tribune]
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Is privatizing facilities management of state-owned buildings paying off for Tennessee taxpayers? Although an audit criticized the state’s facilities management contract with Chicago-based JJL, Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration says the arrangement is saving money and improving services. And as The Tennessean reports, the success of a pilot project shows that it could be expanded to state-owned facilities across the state. [The Tennessean]
NORFOLK, Virginia: Here’s a good example of a city government involving citizens in the planning process. As the city of Norfolk was planning its bicycle and pedestrian plan, officials gave a group a bicyclists Sharpie markers to pinpoint corridors they think would work well as bicycle corridors that would see street infrastructure improvements. And as The Virginian-Pilot reports, city officials went through the same exercise. "Amazingly, they all looked almost the same," city planner Susan Pollock Hart told the newspaper. "And that's how we got the 12 corridors." [The Virginian-Pilot]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.