FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/24/2014
Councilmember Statements Regarding Final Adoption of City Budget
SEATTLE – The City Council gave final approval to the 2015 City Budget by a 8-1 vote at the today’s Full Council meeting.
Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Budget Committee, said, “I’d like to thank members of the public for their involvement in helping the Council craft the 2015 City budget. Public involvement resulted in a more responsive city budget that emphasizes human services, social justice and labor standards.” Councilmember Licata added, “In an effort to reach out to more people than in the past, I’ll be initiating a community participatory budget process for next year’s budget.”
In a letter to the Mayor in early August, the Council identified the Council’s highest priorities for the 2015-2016 biennium. Councilmembers voted to enhance the proposed budget Mayor Ed Murray delivered on September 22 with greater emphasis on human services, social justice and labor standards. A summary of the major Council’s budget modifications is available online.
“From public health funding to enhanced worker protections to early learning investments, the 2015 budget responds to our city’s critical needs and advances groundbreaking policies,” said Council President Tim Burgess.
Councilmember Jean Godden said, “I’m tremendously proud of the Council’s support to set aside funds to establish paid parental leave in 2015. It is one example of our commitment to end the gender wage gap and support our valued employees.”
"We continue to focus on adding more police officers, but it is not just about more people. We need to more effectively deploy the current officers into our neighborhoods and ensure communities feel our officers are helping in the prevention of crime. Chief O’Toole is leading Seattle in the right direction with the mantra of using accurate and timely data, rapidly deploying crime reduction plans and commanding relentless follow-up,” said Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell. “Additional public safety investments include alley activation in the Chinatown/International District, block watch academies, summer safety activities, mobile domestic violence assistance and a potential pilot for an acoustic gunshot locator system.”
“I am proud of the steps City Council is taking to address income inequality in our city through this budget,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “We’ve passed some great laws recently to support workers – from $15/hour to paid sick leave to protections against wage theft – but I led Council’s effort to significantly increase funding for the new Office of Labor Standards to ensure that workers know their rights and know how to exercise them. I also helped provide additional funding for our upcoming priority hire legislation, which aims to employ those people in our city who most need the work on City construction projects. I’m also happy the Council sped up $15/hour for all City employees to take effect next year.”
“The 2015-2016 budget package includes investments in many areas important to me, including human services, public health and public safety to make Seattle a safer, healthier place for everyone,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “It also emphasizes commitments to improve our public spaces, making every Seattle neighborhood more welcoming and connected. Thanks to my colleagues and the Mayor’s Office for their collaborative spirit and willingness to find new solutions.”
“I am excited that the Council agreed to fund the Neighborhood Conservation District program. When the program is established next year, neighborhoods will have a strong land use tool to accommodate growth and development that respects community history and character,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the sponsor of the new program.
Councilmember Sally J. Clark said, “With this budget, we’re making strong investments that will save lives across our city. Thank you to the advocates, community members and program participants themselves who have shaped those investments.”
“The movement for a People’s Budget has won important improvements to the Mayor’s business-as-usual budget, and we will not stop fighting until the needs of regular people in Seattle are met, such as affordable housing and an end to regressive taxation,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant.