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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Mike McGinn presents budget that supports youth and families, public safety, transportation

9/24/2012  2:00:00 PM

Mayor Mike McGinn presents budget that supports
youth and families, public safety, transportation
Sustainable budget practices, recovering local economy support
re-investment in key priorities

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn's 2013-14 Proposed Budget, presented today to the Seattle City Council, prioritizes new funding support for public safety, and expands transit options and youth and family services in Seattle. The total proposed budget is $4 billion, including the city's $951 million General Fund. The mayor's proposed budget also restores the city's Rainy Day Fund to its 2008 peak of $30 million.

"This budget is built on the ideas, priorities and values I've heard from residents across Seattle in my town halls and neighborhood meetings," said McGinn. "A responsible budget must support the good work happening in the community today and chart a path for the future. That means we need to invest in our children, transportation options, public safety and human services. Seattle is a healthy city today because we are a city of passionate hard-working innovators focused on making our city better. I look forward to continuing this work with the City Council as it considers the budget."

The mayor, with the City Budget Office, began the year working to fill a $30 million deficit. Since then, improving revenue projections, the passage of the Library Levy, sustainable budgeting practices adopted in previous years by the McGinn administration, partnerships with labor and conservative controls placed on internal spending have made it possible to re-prioritize city dollars to re-invest in Seattle's priorities: education, jobs and transportation.

Finding efficiencies

The mayor's ongoing efforts to find efficiencies in city government again allowed him to prioritize providing direct services to the public. A few examples include $36,000 in utility cost savings that the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) will achieve by adjusting the set points for the temperature of city-owned and operated buildings. FAS also expects to save more than $300,000 annually starting in 2014 by closing its internal vehicle maintenance parts warehouse, using an outside vendor instead. By liquidating the parts currently in the warehouse, FAS expects to receive $900,000 in one-time revenue in 2013. Parks is adopting a more efficient method for maintaining park lawns based on an effort piloted in 2012. The efficiency is expected to save $250,000 annually.

Responsible budgeting practices

To better preserve city services in the face of future economic downturns, this budget restores the city's Rainy Day Fund to its 2008 peak of $30 million. At the onset of the Great Recession, the city relied heavily on the Rainy Day Fund, drawing it down to $10.5 million by the time the 2010 Budget was adopted in late 2009. Since that time, the mayor had led a concerted effort, ultimately adopted by the City Council, to restore the health of the fund, including a sweeping overhaul of the policies governing how the Rainy Day Fund is managed. These efforts have contributed to Seattle's high credit ratings, which keeps the city's borrowing costs low, saving taxpayers money.

Budget highlights

The mayor, in a series of budget preview events, highlighted how his 2013-14 Proposed Budget supports public safety, transportation, youth and families:

While the 2013-14 Proposed Budget eliminates 65 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, 191 FTEs are added over the biennium to support the newly re-prioritized investments described in part above. These FTEs are supported by various funding sources, including permitting fees and the Library Levy. An additional net increase of 7 FTEs results from changes impacting part-time positions.

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Office of the Mayor

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