This Monday kicked off my second City budget cycle as Mayor Burgess presented his proposal to the Council (you can watch the budget speech here). Councilmembers and staff are in the initial stages of reviewing the investments detailed in the proposal, but I wanted to call out a few early budget wins and projects included in the Mayor’s proposal that align directly with my priorities, and those of my constituents.
Earlier budget wins:
- With the historic levels of growth our city is experiencing, funding affordable housing and supporting projects that reflect our cultural heritage are absolutely necessary investments. This year I proposed a new tax on short term rentals that gives long term and permanent funding to build more affordable housing projects and funds projects that preserve our city’s cultural heritage.
- I’m a big believer in green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), so recently I sponsored an amendment to double the amount we spent on GSI without raising consumer rate paths. What is GSI? Click here to learn more, but overall, these investments help to address flooding and climate change impacts, create long term job opportunities (both in the creation and maintenance of the new GSI projects), incentivize more private sector development, and increase walkability and greenspace.
Highlights of investments in the Mayor’s draft budget:
- I am thrilled to see funding allocated for the renovation of the Magnuson Park Community Center. This renovation, beginning in 2018, will provide much needed space for additional programming for the kids and adults who live, work, and play in the park.
- I’ve heard from many constituents about the unsettling rise in property crime throughout our neighborhoods, so I am pleased to see the funds needed to fulfill our commitment to expand the police force by 200 officers. Resulting in a 15% increase in SPD’s uniformed personnel, this funding builds off of my 2017 budget goal to increase the number of officers and reduce response times.
- With the success our Navigation Team has demonstrated getting those living outside to accept offers of shelter, I am happy to see additional funds for a second team outlined among other critical investments to address the homelessness crisis.
- Because I strongly believe that including arts in education is an integral component of setting our students up for success, I am very glad to see the funds allocated to ensure Creative Advantage (a collaboration between our Office of Arts and Culture, Seattle Public Schools, and community partners) is operating in all Seattle’s public schools by 2022.
There are additional priorities I’ll be pushing for over the course of the budget process, including the renovation of the Burke Gilman Trail from UW to the U Village and ensuring the expansion of our successful Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) to the north end. I’ll also be looking for ways that we can increase support for our local businesses to grow and how we can make our neighborhood streets safer for kids. Look out for more updates as the budget process gets underway.
Details on the Mayor’s proposed budget can be found here. More information can also be found on the Council’s budget page. There are two public hearings at City Hall (as usual, I made sure that we offer childcare at both):
- Thursday, October 5 at 5:30 pm in Chambers
- Wednesday, November 1 at 5:30 pm in Chamber
I hope you are able to join us and share your thoughts! If you are unable to attend, you can always reach out to our office with your comments at 206.684.8808 or Rob.Johnson@seattle.gov.