Point of View
May 2005 - Issue No. 13 -Special Edition
City Hall perspectives
from Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
In this issue:
Protecting Open Space in Seattle
This Saturday we will dedicate Seattle's beautiful new City Hall. Please join me and the rest of the City Council and the Mayor at this grand opening, May 14th from 2 - 4:30 pm (details below). A time capsule will be sealed and placed inside of City Hall; speeches (of course!) and a "behind the scenes" tour of the Council's offices.
Be a Part of History!
Saturday May 14, from 2 - 4:30 p.m. at City Hall Plaza Fourth Avenue and Cherry Street.
Be part of a group photo that will be sealed in a "Time Capsule" to be opened in 50 years.
Entertainment provided by Washington Middle School Jazz Band, T.T. Minor Bullpup Marching Band and diverse cultural performing groups. There will be poetry, popcorn - even the Mariner Moose and the Storm Doppler!
FREE COMMEMORATIVE UMBRELLAS to the first 300 children to arrive.
For more information call (206) 684-8801
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Improving Public Safety
On occasion the Council adjusts the budget based on the most recent revenue and expenditure projections. As more precise information is reported for 2005 we evaluate and adjust the budget.
For the first time in several years the City has a modest increase in revenue over the original projection when the budget was adopted last fall. The economy is improving. In particular, real estate transactions are strong. According to state law, tax revenue from real estate transactions can only be used for capital projects such as transportation infrastructure improvements and major maintenance of parks, libraries, and general government facilities. This year the real estate excise tax has generated roughly $5 million more than anticipated.
Councilmember Richard McIver, chair of the Council's Budget Committee, wisely emphasized the need for fiscal caution given the budget challenges Seattle recently faced. About half of the one-time funds will be kept in reserve. The other half (about $2.5 million) was allocated to a few priority projects this week.
With the support of my colleagues on the Council, I secured funding for two important projects:
Improving Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
I have been working to evaluate how we can use "Red Light Camera's" at some of our most dangerous intersections to see if we can improve pedestrian and traffic safety. The Council appropriated $500,000 for the development of an automated traffic enforcement demonstration project or, "red-light cameras." Through this effort we will evaluate if this technology deters drivers from running red lights and improves safety for both pedestrians and drivers. This project will be discussed at the May 17th Public Safety and Justice Committee at 2:30 p.m.
New Lights for Pioneer Square
Another important addition to the budget I worked for was $100,000 for lighting improvements in Pioneer Square. New and brighter lights on streets and in alleyways in Pioneer Square will help create a safer environment for all. When I recommended that a new homeless service center be located in this neighborhood, I stressed the importance of addressing the concerns of residents and business owners.
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If you have any questions about these projects or would like to learn more about other budget actions taken by the Council this week, visit www.seattle.gov/council or contact my office at (206) 684-8808.
I hope to see you this Saturday at City Hall!
Seattle City Councilmember
Chair, Housing, Human Services and Health Committee
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