Councilmember Richard McIver
Council President Nick Licata
Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck
Councilmember Sally Clark
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember David Della
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
COMMITTEE PASSES COMPREHENSIVE PUBLIC SAFETY PACKAGE
Committee proposes increased police staffing, crime prevention, and programs that link human services and public safety.
SEATTLE - The Budget Committee today passed a comprehensive public safety budget package in response to concern about crime, human need, and policing issues. Councilmember Richard McIver, chair of the Budget Committee, said, "Public safety is the City's primary responsibility. The Council understands that public safety means more police and crime prevention but also more money for human services. In order to be safe, Seattleites need food, shelter, employment, and an adequately staffed police force." Council President Nick Licata, chair of the Public Safety, Government Relations, and Arts Committee, said, "As Seattle grows, we must preserve our quality of life by responding thoughtfully to the challenges that accompany growth. The Budget Committee has adopted just such an approach today." Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, a member of the Council's Public Safety, Government Relations, and Arts Committee, says, "The Council wants to add new police officers in 2007 and in 2008 as a way to address the troubling increase in burglaries, aggravated assault, and gang activity in our city and we've directed the mayor to develop a five-year strategic plan to enhance public safety."
The Committee is still reviewing the Mayor's 2007-2008 Budget Proposal that would raise and spend $803 million next year and $813 million in 2008 for the City's general fund that pays for city services including the Seattle Police Department. The elements of a comprehensive public safety package that passed today include: funding for 10 new police officers in 2007 and 20 in 2008, youth employment, late night recreation, domestic violence prevention, senior centers, and human services. The Committee recommended changes to the Mayor's proposed budget of over $8 million in 2007 and 2008 combined in today's votes.
Councilmember Jan Drago, chair of the Transportation Committee, said, "Before I was elected to public office I was active in crime prevention groups and public safety has always been central to my work as an elected official. I am pleased that the Committee has directed significant resources to public safety." Councilmember Sally Clark, chair of the Economic Development and Neighborhoods Committee, said, "Neighborhoods want more officers on patrol and today the Committee has rightly responded by ramping up the funding that will make that possible." Councilmember David Della, chair of the Council's Parks, Education, Libraries and Labor Committee, said, "When Seattleites go to visit our parks, they need to know they can enjoy them without worrying about their safety. These public safety investments mean our parks can be safer for all." Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Environment, Emergency Management, and Utilities, said, "Fighting domestic violence is a critical public safety task. Victims of abuse need all of our help to get out of dangerous situations, that's why I am so pleased that the Committee has found more funding for legal assistance for domestic violence victims." Councilmember Jean Godden, chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, said, "The Committee is investing money in youth programs that will nurture our children and reduce the need to spend more on jails and prosecutors in the future." Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Housing, Human Services, and Health Committee, said, "Our city's seniors need to have vibrant places to visit during the day. I'm very pleased that the City Council will be funding and supporting our senior centers. Our seniors need to feel safe and secure when they set forth to visit a senior center." The Council will continue to exercise its budget authority in November by scrutinizing the Mayor's budget and potentially proposing additional changes. The budget must be adopted no later than December 1. The Council and the Mayor will, as required by state law, adopt a balanced budget.