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Questions from Community Conversations

In anticipation of state and federal budget cuts, Seattle City Councilmembers are starting the budgeting process early and are visiting Seattle communities to discuss some of the main priorities. Please share your feedback regarding both the style of the meeting, as well as the questions that were asked.

community meeting


Questions for 5/31/2011
2012 Human Services Budget
Community Conversations

  1. In light of reduced funding at the Federal and State levels and increasing pressures on the City’s General Fund, how do you think the City should prioritize Human Services Department in the overall budget?
  2. What do you think are the Human Services Department's core functions and what programs do you consider most important?
  3. What can the City do that would reduce the need for human services?
  4. How could departments outside of the Human Services Department do their work differently to meet their missions in ways that would also help Seattle residents meet their basic human needs?  For instance: Parks, Public Safety, and Neighborhoods?
  5. Would you be willing to pay more in taxes to avoid a reduction in services for the Human Services Department? 

Questions for 5/23/2011
2012 Public Safety Budget Community Conversations

  1. Public safety - police and fire - is an important City service, funded entirely by city tax dollars and historically one of the last places the City makes budget reductions.  This means larger cuts must be taken from other important city services, like libraries, human services and parks, some of which have some other funding sources and some of which do not. Should the City continue to prioritize public safety funding, and why?
  2. What City-funded services contribute to a feeling of safety in your neighborhood? How might these tight budget times change the way the City thinks about how to address crime and how to address the factors that contribute to criminal activity?
  3. Which of these goals for a police department is most important to you, and why?
    1. Reduce crime
    2. Reduce the fear of crime
    3. Respond quickly to 911 calls for service
    4. Provide public safety services cost-effectively
  4. Other than core police and fire department functions, what other public safety programs do you consider most important? (Examples include domestic violence programs, block watch coordination, drug diversion programs, etc.)
  5. Would you be willing to pay more in taxes to avoid a reduction in services to the fire department?

Questions from 5/3/2011
2012 Parks Budget Community Conversations

  1. The City's General Subfund budget is approximately $900 million in 2011. Parks' share of the GSF is about 9%, or $80 million. Of the remaining, 58% ($500+ million) supports public safety and 6% ($52 million) supports human services. How should Parks be prioritized in the city's overall budget?
  2. What do you think are the Parks Department's core service functions? What are its ancillary service functions?
  3. What does the parks system – including outdoor parks, community centers and other DPR offerings – mean to you? How do you use the park system?
  4. What does a successful parks system look like to you?
  5. The City's parks system is expensive to maintain and is subsidized, on average, by about 67 cents on the dollar. What tradeoffs would you be willing to make between a) maintaining parks system services and b) increasing commercial activity in parks? This might include increased food and drink vending, sponsorships or fee-based programming.
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