Council President Sally J. Clark
City Council Budget Committee refocuses 2013 budget on urgent, immediate needs
Seattle – The Seattle City Council's Budget Committee today voted unanimously on a balanced 2013 budget for city operations and endorsed a spending plan for 2014.
The Council's revisions to Mayor Michael McGinn's September 24 budget proposal add funding for more police officers; focus more work on street repairs and transit speeds; care for Seattle's most vulnerable residents by adding nurse visits for low-income mothers, day shelter space, and support for food banks; build sustainable communities by maintaining investment in community centers and youth violence prevention; and step up the city's ability to measure results of tax payer investment.
"This year we asked the question – how do you deliver the right mix of services while still living out the end of a recession?" said Council President Sally J. Clark. "Mayor McGinn presented a good starting place. We dug into the numbers and the needs. I'm confident this final budget for 2013 manages urgent needs and invests for our future growth."
"The Council worked collaboratively to make changes that effectively address the urgent issues Seattle residents face today," said Councilmember Tim Burgess, Budget Committee Chair. "Listening to the community's priorities, we have developed a budget that invests our limited resources wisely and delivers results."
The following documents contain more information about the Council's changes:
Proactive public safety
Continuing its emphasis on keeping Seattle's neighborhoods safe, the Council added more than $2.5 million to hire new police officers and fund police emphasis patrols to proactively prevent violent crime.
"The Council prioritized and focused on adding more police officers in neighborhoods," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. "We increased funding to add 21 police officers and $1 million for proactive policing emphasis patrol. The Council listened and acted to enhance public safety for all neighborhoods."
Enhance transportation mobility
Taking a balanced approach to transportation issues, the Council stressed the needs of today's transit riders while also advancing long-range planning for high-capacity transit already underway. The final budget package reprioritizes more than $2 million in transit funding to improve transit speed and reliability for bus corridors identified in City's Transit Master Plan.
Councilmembers also recognized the importance and need of basic road maintenance, preserving safety, mobility and the efficient movement of goods and allocating $2 million street maintenance, repairs and maintenance along Seattle's major transit corridors.
"The public is asking for better bus service now and with the additional funds SDOT will be able to make near-term road and signal improvements to help Metro provide better service and reliability," said Transportation Committee Chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "We are also funding long-range planning for High Capacity Transit. The Madison corridor planning will begin in 2013 and the Eastlake corridor planning begin in 2014."
Caring for our most vulnerable residents
Councilmembers added $1.7 million in direct human services funding for a variety of vulnerable populations including victims of domestic violence, seniors, first-time moms living in poverty, individuals and families needing food security and homeless women, men and families.
"I'm pleased that the Council joined together to create human services package to enhance care for the most vulnerable members of our community," said Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee Chair Councilmember Nick Licata. "In particular, it's critical that as part of that package we'll increase shelter capacity for the nearly 2,000 people sleeping outside as well as increasing day services for people spending the night in shelters that are closed during the day. Shelter and day services programs not only address critical survival needs but they also serve as outreach centers for those needing healthcare, case management and a connection back to a supportive community."
"We made great strides towards strengthening human services – adding an average of $2 million over the next two years on top of what the Mayor proposed – including funding for bilingual domestic violence advocacy," said Councilmember Jean Godden. "We also prioritized neighborhoods, making new investments in community center facilities and forest restoration to realize the Seattle we all envision."
Building a sustainable community
To encourage the growth of a more sustainable community and to support Seattle's continued economic recovery, the Council added funding for Green Jobs initiatives, growth-oriented land-use planning initiatives, efforts to reclaim public green space and restaurant permit streamlining.
"The Council is taking actions to create a better future for Seattle," stated Councilmember Richard Conlin, Chair of the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. "We are investing in bus and streetcar systems that will increase transportation choices. We are increasing funding for the Green Seattle Partnership, which mobilizes volunteers to maintain the health of our urban forest. We are continuing our emergency preparedness efforts by funding work on unreinforced masonry buildings and creating a resiliency strategy. And we are adding new resources that will strengthen housing, community centers, and human services in our neighborhoods and urban centers."
Following policy developed last year, the Council preserved the tiered structure for community centers, keeping operating hours for centers intact from baseline 2012 levels. The Council also added $500,000 to make capital improvements for the Lake City Community Center.
"Even with our economy showing signs of recovery, we need to be strategic with our resources and spending. We can't continue to fund every desire; we must target results and effectiveness. We have chosen to keep all of our community centers open while directing our money towards proven, intentional programming," said Parks and Neighborhoods Committee Chair Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. "We are meeting both needs and wants across the city and being purposeful with our priorities."
"Lake City is a growing and changing community. It's got a great group of active neighbors and residents. Now we are looking into the right programming for teens and seniors and creating an accessible, open, and welcoming community center," added Council President Clark.
To make sure the City's new investments actually improve lives and communities, the Council set aside $400,000 for the City Auditor to conduct evaluations of programs targeted for significant expansion (the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and the Career Bridge employment assistance program) and has provided additional staff at the Auditor's Office to support this work.
The Council also requested additional clarity from the Executive regarding the specific outcome targets for other new or expanded programs, including the Center City Initiative and entrepreneurial support offered by the Office of Economic Development.
"I want to say thank you to all of the people who turned out to testify at public hearings, emailed, called and met with Council throughout this budget process," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien. "I was impressed with the engagement we saw from so many in the community and I think the input we received helped guide our thinking and decisions in this budget."
Final adoption of the 2013-2014 biennial budget will occur Monday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
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