Seattle City Council
12/19/2005 10:08:00 AM
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL – 2005 ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Shoring up and building for the future
SEATTLE — In 2005, the Council logged achievements shoring up resources and building for the future. The Council’s 2006 Budget Committee, led by Chair Richard McIver, added almost $2.5-million for the Seattle Public Library’s collections budget and additional operating hours.
The Council’s committee on transportation under Richard Conlin brought investments to the tune of $6-million dollars in transportation over the Mayor’s proposal. From that total, $3.4 million will go to capital funds for arterial paving and critical transportation improvements; $560,000 to the Neighborhood Street Fund and $628,000 to plan transit alternatives for the Ballard to Downtown and West Seattle corridors to replace the monorail.
In 2005, the Council prevailed with the Civic Center Master Plan, developing a Public Safety Block at 600 4th Avenue into an open space and gathering place; they increased funds for the Northgate Coordinated Transportation Investment Plan to a total of $593,000; approved $500,000 for a Broadway revitalization to give that business district a boost; and called for an Advisory Ballot Measure so Seattle’s citizens could have the final say on the Monorail Project.
The Olympic Sculpture Park, a priority for Council President Jan Drago, will now bring open space and a new beach to Seattle’s waterfront. The Council approved funding for beach restoration ($600,000) and $1.5 million to convert an asphalt parking lot into park land.
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s committee on human services, led the effort for a new downtown homeless services center and headed the council initiative to create a new emergency assistance program to help low-income customers with their water bills in times of emergencies. The Council added $2 million to the 2006 Budget for shelter beds, senior services, food delivery programs and health clinics. Rasmussen is also ushering in a $50 million site acquisition (land banking) program for affordable housing.
The Council commissioned award-winning historian Paul Dorpat to research the history of Seattle’s waterfront as a backdrop for redevelopment of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Urban Development Planning Committee under Peter Steinbrueck took on review of the Mayor’s downtown height and density proposal resulting in Steinbrueck enhancing the Mayor’s proposal by sponsoring a downtown livability plan to provide more parks and community space, increasing funding for affordable housing, and preserving downtown’s many historic buildings. Steinbrueck’s Committee also spurred economic development opportunities for the Broadway Business District last year by increasing heights on Broadway and providing significant funding for improvements to the ailing district.
The Energy and Environmental Policy Committee with Chair Jean Godden, directed Seattle City Light to purchase greenhouse gas credits toward reaching the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emission in 2005; it supported new clean car emission standards and lobbied the State Legislature for change; it accepted deeds to properties along the Skagit River to help protect salmon habitat and the committee led financial policies through Council to keep Seattle City Light fiscally sound, laying the groundwork for a possible rate decrease in 2007.
Councilmember Jim Compton’s Task Force on Telecommunications Innovations reported to the Utilities and Technology Committee how Seattle can be made a “broadband city” by building a citywide fiber optic network. The Utilities and Technology Committee will be taking on that project under its new chair as Compton resigns his position on the Council to study democratic movements in Romania and lecture at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
Due to Nick Licata’s efforts as chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Arts Committee, the Council ensured that 25 new police officers will be hired specifically for patrol positions throughout Seattle neighborhoods; passed legislation allowing for traffic safety cameras; passed legislation to ensure adequate funding for the Treatment of Sex Industry Victims Account, funds derived from fines for those convicted of patronizing prostitutes, to provide care and treatment to sex industry workers.
The Council helped close the academic achievement gap and reduce drop-out rates through the $116-million Families and Education Levy this year helping our public schools meet the needs of all Seattle students. Chair of the committee on education and parks, David J. Della, also succeeded in extending operating hours in the city’s Late Night Recreation Program for teens and in securing funding for improvements at Dahl Playfield and launched the development of a children’s play area at Denny Park.