THIS WEEK IN THE BUDGET
On Wednesday the Budget Committee met to vote and discuss changes to the proposed budget. My big news is that the Council supported the passage of my proposal to create a $29M housing bond intended to expand financing for affordable housing in Seattle for 2017. I wrote about this proposal last week.
With a vote of 7-2 in favor of this proposal, the Council signaled our common desire to prioritize housing in the budget process, and without pitting Seattle’s housing needs against other citywide priorities. We are in a homelessness state of emergency. We need to build today to meet the need. Building today is less expensive than building at future costs, and these funds will continue to benefit the community for the entire period of the bond payment under their 50+ year requirement to be maintained as affordable.
Next steps will be to work with the Office of Housing to evaluate and develop options for funding, either proposing utilization of the entire $29 million in bond funding at one time for a specific project or program, or using funding over time for several projects or programs. Additional information regarding details of the proposal is available HERE and HERE.
Last week I included a list of budget items that I was continuing to work on after the previous week’s presentation of my priorities. Below are my priorities that were either included in the final balancing package by Councilmember Burgess, or passed by amending the Chair’s proposed balancing package in yesterday’s Budget Committee Meeting. There are many others – too many to list here – for which I was listed as a supporting sponsor.
District 1 Budget Proposals:
- Fauntleroy Boulevard Project – City Light has revised the description of the project to allocate $1.5 million for the street light improvements and utility pole relocations recommended by community members as integral to the revised design
- West Seattle Bridge studies – This will continue work the work begun by former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, by adding $100,000 to complete the two studies called for in a budget action last year to carry out the evaluations called for in the West Seattle Bridge/Duwamish Corridor Whitepaper to improve safety, incident management, and traffic flow.
- Age Friendly Community Innovation Fund – This funding will support a grant program for groups in each of the seven City Council districts to apply for up to $25,000 for programs and services based on improving the lives of an aging population.
- South Park Family Service Center – This funding will support health and human services, a leadership program, and an education program in South Park.
- T-5 Quiet Zone – Statement of Legislative Intent for SDOT that requests that they work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at Terminal 5, to extend the quiet zone from Terminal 5 to the Delridge Way/W Marginal Way intersection.
- A task force on South Park Public Safety – To formulate and report to Council recommendations regarding the public safety and vitality of that neighborhood. Including strategies that reflect the unique situations or dynamics of the neighborhood and are culturally and linguistically responsive data-driven approach to improving the City’s relations to and effectiveness with the South Park neighborhood.
Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts (CRUEDA) Related Budget Proposals:
- Civil Rights Issue – Hearing Loops for Boards and Commissions Room funding to ensure accessibility to those with hearing disabilities. The Boards and Commission Room hosts several citizen advisory groups including the People with disAbilities Commission.
- Civil Rights Issue – Employment and Housing Bias Testing will allow Seattle Office of Civil Rights to conduct approximately 210 employment and housing tests to proactively enforce the City’s anti-discrimination laws.
- Economic Development Issue – Seattle Legacy Business study funding to for a study to determine the scope and definition of a Seattle Legacy Business program to preserve businesses that contribute to the City’s unique culture and character and are at risk of being lost.
- Economic Development – King Street Station proposal will require Office of Economic Development to report back to Council to describe how funding will direct commercial affordability opportunities and resources to low-income entrepreneurs and support a model that serves as a business incubator for low-income immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs by providing education, training, resources, facilities and support.
- Labor Issues – funding evaluation on Secure Scheduling so academic researchers can complete an evaluation of the impacts of the regulations for the baseline, one-year and two-year periods following implementation.
- Labor Issues – Office of Labor Standards (OLS) Directed Investigations Program development – funding for one additional investigator dedicated to directed investigations to allow for investigations initiated by the OLS Director rather than relying on a specific complaint from a worker.
Public Safety, Transportation, and Human Services Budget Proposals:
- Community Service Officers funding – to develop a Community Service Officer program, allowing for the hiring of unsworn officers to assist regular police officers by performing community services associated with law enforcement, conducting crime prevention activities, improving relations, and developing potential police officers.
- Pronto bike-share operations – redirect $300,000 in 2017 and $600,000 in 2018 proposed to operate the current Pronto system toward implementing the Bicycle Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, and School Safety projects
- Speed camera revenues (non-school zone) revenues dedicated to pedestrian users – Increase portion of non-school zone red light camera revenue dedicated to school safety to pedestrian uses; currently 10% of camera revenue goes to the school safety and pedestrian improvement fund. This would increase it to 20%, more in line with national best practices, and policy for school-zone cameras
- Public Defense Services for tenants – would fund a two-year pilot to contract with the King County Department of Public Defense for civil legal services related to housing evictions for indigent defendants.
- SCDI funding for enforcement – for the move-in fee legislation to answer landlords and tenants questions regarding the new requirements, investigate complaints and respond to appeals in a timely manner.
- Restore Transitional Housing – funding in 2017 for 8 homeless programs serving veterans, youth, domestic violence survivors, and immigrant and refugee families
- Tenant Landlord Resource Center – adopt a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) asking SDCI to develop a proposal for a public facing landlord tenant resource center, with resource needs identified and in coordination with multiple city departments.
- Green Pathways – funding to establish a position on the Workforce Entry and Employment Pathways interdepartmental team to identify how City internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, workplace investment and job training can lead to career paths. The green pathways work will be integrated with this citywide work, and this position will oversee and implement this work.
- Animal Control Officers – increase dedicated animal control officers by adding an enforcement officer to better enforce our scoop and leash laws, and ensure public safety in our park system.
Of the items that were very important to me that I’m disappointed to say did not get the necessary majority support in the final budget package are the following:
- Arts funding for Burke Museum, Town Hall, Nordic Heritage, Hugo House, 5th Avenue Theatre – Increase funding for each organization’s capital campaign
- Establish OLS as a Regulatory Fee-Supported Department – our labor laws should be enforced with a small annual regulatory fee on businesses.
- Preference Points for Seattle Police Department hiring – A requirement that new officers be hired using preference points for applicants with 2nd language proficiency, as proposed by the Community Police Commission, and included in the City’s legislation proposed to a federal judge (as described in an earlier blog post) did not receive the necessary support to pass. 72 new officer positions are proposed to be created in 2017-2018, to bring the total of new officer positions to 181 during the last few years.
- Restoration of SYVPI Recreation – funding for the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative recreational programming.
- Community Planning Process for Myers Way Properties, Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) – a community planning process to determine the future uses of the Myers Way Properties. In the budget process I learned that there are 5 other District 1 land banked properties that have pending requests for planning resources. Moving this one forward would have resulted in the Myers Way property “jumping the line.”
Again, I could not have done this without all of you; thank you for all of your support and advocacy for these changes.
This coming Monday morning will be the final meeting of the Budget Committee, we will take the final votes on technical corrections, held budget action items, and remaining budget legislation. The meeting will start at 10:30am and public comment will be at the beginning of the meeting.
There is one final pending priority of I have – the Child Care Space Mitigation Fund. I am working with our policy staff to finalize the funding source, but I expect this to pass Monday morning. Child Care Space Mitigation fund will be created to address the displacement of before- and after-school child care from Seattle Public Schools’. The funding would be available for use by the District and to child care providers to make arrangements to keep child care on-site at schools or assist in relocating where providers would otherwise be displaced.
PROPOSED UNIVERSITY DISTRICT REZONE
The University District is one of Seattle’s six designated urban centers and it with significant investments in Light Rail it is a highly sought after neighborhood for new homes and jobs. In October, the Executive submitted legislation to Council to rezone the University District.
These land use and zoning changes for the area will increase zoning capacity, institute new design standards, create incentives for open space, childcare, social services and historic preservation. The zoning changes will also allow implementation of the new Mandatory Housing Affordability program so that all new development will require developers to contribute to affordable housing.
Wednesday night, the City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee (PLUZ), chaired by Councilmember Rob Johnson, hosted a public hearing on the proposed zoning changes. Over 100 residents gave testimony at the meeting ranging from supporting the proposal, to voicing their concerns about the impact this rezone will have on the community, to opposing the proposal. Some of the concerns raised included:
- Addressing displacement of affordable residential units that are lost as a result of the rezone. In the University District, the City’s conservative displacement analysis shows that with or without zoning changes that up to 275 homes could be demolished. We should ensure that housing demolition is mitigated. Check out my blog post on my efforts this year to address displacement as part of the Mandatory Housing Affordability Framework Legislation.
- Affordability requirements should be stronger and developers should have to contribute more to affordable housing and affordable housing should be in the neighborhood.
- Impacts of upzones on small businesses on the Ave will increase heights, accelerate redevelopment and/or increase rents?
- Designation of parks and open space and the right of public access people will have to open space provided by private land owners.
- Designating mid-rise zones as Transfer Development Rights Receiving Sites in order to promote Historic Preservation.
- Ensuring the commitments of the urban design framework, which sets out a comprehensive neighborhood plan for greater density, traffic circulation, parks and open space, social services, schools, concerns for affordable housing and for mitigating displacement of lower income residents is part of the legislation not just in the recitals.
- Transportation issues related to development as a result of the rezone.
- The need for increased incentives for large employers to support affordable childcare.
My goal is legislation that addresses the immediate and future needs of all residents. I plan to work with community to identify amendments that will strengthen the proposed legislation.
The PLUZ Committee will discuss the legislation on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. Councilmembers will discuss proposed amendments on Jan. 6 and may vote on Jan. 20. The legislation will likely go to Full Council in early February 2017. Please sign up to receive agenda’s for the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee so can stay engaged on this issue.