[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Albany 10-21-2019 by Ord. No. 35.101.19. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Equity is a cornerstone of a thriving democracy and must be embedded in the internal and external actions of local government that contribute to the health and well-being of everyone in the City. Racial and social disparities persist across key indicators of success in Albany, including education, economic development, health, housing, jobs, criminal justice, the built environment, service equity and arts and culture. The Mayor's office established an Equity Agenda Advisory Committee in 2014 to advise the administration on executing an equity agenda. The goal of this equity agenda is to focus on achieving equity across all communities and ending the injustices caused by institutional and systemic racism and discrimination. The Common Council of the City of Albany seeks to more actively oversee and assist City departments as they utilize available tools and resources to end inequities across key indicators of success. Equitable budgeting is a "funding shift" to focus on those neighborhoods with the greatest needs.
Built environment enhancements
The City rates streets on a scale of one to 10. A rating of three or lower indicates a need for repair or replacement. The City shall seek to achieve parity among all wards in the proportion of street ratings of three or higher. The City of Albany Department of General Services and Division of Engineering will provide the Common Council with a ward map identifying the rating of each street at the time that it submits to the Common Council its annual proposed list of street and sidewalk reconstructions/enhancements. This map will break down street conditions by percentage within each ward. Wards with a disproportionate percentage of streets rated three or lower will be prioritized. The Department of General Services and Division of Engineering will also be required to keep an electronic record of requests made for the enhancement of existing streets and sidewalks and the installment of new sidewalks and walking paths. An update on these requests will be included in the report.
Investment in parks must be based on equity, which is measured based on data retrieved from a City-wide parks assets map. The Departments of Recreation, General Services and Water will develop a City-wide asset map that includes, at a minimum: the location and name of each City-owned park; the size of each park, the recreation equipment (including splash pads) in each park, including the age of the equipment, the designed age range for children using the equipment, and the ADA access to such equipment; the number and condition of any court services; the existence and condition of any restroom facilities and water fountains; the existence and condition of benches, picnic tables, chess tables and other such surfaces; and the overall condition of the grounds (including hardscape) of the park. The Department of Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Department of General Services and Water Department, will provide the Common Council with a detailed asset map by September 1 of each year.
The City of Albany Planning Department will conduct an annual assessment of lighting to ensure streets, alleyways and parks are adequately illuminated.
The City of Albany Department of General Services will assess if trash receptacles are evenly distributed throughout wards in commercial zones and placed in areas of high activity.
Any proposed qualified capital improvements (other than capital projects required at the City of Albany Landfill) will be accompanied with the name of previous capital projects completed by ward in a four-year period. The selection of wards for capital projects must take into account the need for built environment enhancements and the time period of the last capital project proposed or completed in the ward. Wards that have received zero or a limited number of capital project funds must be prioritized. The list will be submitted to the Albany Common Council annually. Exceptions will be made for state and federal mandated orders.
The Albany Common Council's Public Safety Committee will establish a Violence Prevention Task Force. The Violence Prevention Task Force will be responsible for convening stakeholders every fall to develop action items in preparation for the upcoming summer in anticipation of an uptick in violence. This task force will be composed of members of the Albany Common Council's Public Safety Committee, community members from wards disproportionately impacted by violence, at least one youth representative, representatives from the Albany Police Department, the Mayor's office, the Albany City School District, clergy and members from violence-prevention-related organizations.
Funding will be allocated annually to violence prevention programming and initiatives in Wards with the highest incidence and prevalence of violence. The funds will be allocated based on prioritization through a community participatory budgeting process with involvement from the Violence Prevention Task Force. A separate budget line within the City of Albany's annual budget will be created and titled "Violence Prevention Task Force Funding."
Community programming. While the Office of Housing and Urban Development requires that all community block grant funding be allocated to high needs communities, the Albany Community Development Agency will take special care to ensure that CDBG funds be prioritized for organizations that serve communities historically disadvantaged due to racism and discrimination, including African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.
The Department of Administrative Services and the Office of the Mayor will be responsible for monitoring, advising and evaluating the City's Equity Agenda in the following manner:
The Human Rights Commission will be responsible for reviewing, enhancing and providing recommendations on the City of Albany's Equity Agenda. Recommendations will be submitted to the Office of the Mayor. The Equity Agenda should include policy recommendations for City-wide initiatives and policies to ensure equitable growth among key indicators of success: education, economic development, health, housing, jobs, criminal justice, the built environment, service equity, and arts and culture.
The Office of the Mayor and the Department of Administrative Services will develop and implement a communications strategy to promote summer jobs, job fairs, workforce development training centers and information about civil service testing to residents. The communications strategy will be submitted to the Human Rights Commission for enhancements and recommendations. The communications strategy will be implemented City-wide with an emphasis on communities with the following characteristics: minority majority wards, low income and disproportionate crime rates and vacant buildings.
The Human Rights Commission will implement an annual dialogue on race, equity and inclusion for the City of Albany community. The forum will be funded as part of the Mayor's Rotunda Evening Series. Funds for this initiative will be made available through an administrative contractual expenditure line in the City's annual budget.
The City of Albany Commission on Human Rights, in partnership with the City of Albany's Department of Administrative Services, will track outcomes over time and publish a report on an annual basis on the City's progress towards achieving equity. The City will measure the collective actions and policies in the following equity areas: built environment enhancements; violence prevention; workforce training employment; and education. A report will be delivered to the Council on an annual basis, no later than September 21.
The Department of Administrative Services will ensure that all City employees receive annual training on racial equity, diversity and inclusion.