City Council’s Consideration of the 2018 City Budget
On Monday, Mayor Burgess presented his proposed 2018 City of Seattle Budget and 2018-2023 Capital Improvement Program. With Burgess becoming Mayor last week, his position as Chair of the City Council Budget Committee became vacant; the Council voted to appoint me as Budget Committee Chair.
Though my role as vice chair of the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance committee did not automatically grant me the position of Chair of the Budget Committee, generally the Council entrusts committee vice-chairs to serve in the absence of the chair. In voting this week to do so in this case of the Budget chair, the Council held the goals of stability in mind to minimize disruption, in the interest of a smooth, rational transition grounded in this Council’s prior decisions.
This is the second year of the Council’s biennial budget process. Last year the Council approved a 2017 budget, and endorsed a 2018 budget. This year it will formally approve the 2018 budget. It’s important to note that based on updated revenue projection in April of this year, the proposed 2018 budget includes additional spending beyond the 2018 budget the Council endorsed last year.
In order to consider the changes that the Mayor has made in the proposed 2018 budget to the Council’s endorsed 2018 budget, the City Council has begun to meet as the Budget Committee. We will be dedicating the following two months to considering, revising, and approving the City budget. The proposed Budget and Capital Improvement Program are available here. Here’s a link to summary charts and tables, and an Executive Summary.
Earlier today, the Budget Committee received the April revenue update upon which the Mayor’s proposed budget is based, and an overview of the proposed budget, from the City Budget Office.
Here’s a brief summary of forthcoming Budget Committee meeting dates, and how the process works:
First Public Hearing on proposed budget: October 5, at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall, 600 4th Avenue; sign-in for the hearing begins at 4:30 p.m. Parking will be available for a discounted $5 rate for those attending the public hearing beginning at 4 p.m., until 11 p.m. at the SeaPark Garage between Cherry and James Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues. Child care will be available; please RSVP with Ashley.Harrison@seattle.gov. An Induction Loop assistive listening system with handheld amplified receivers and headsets are available upon request; please check in with the Committee Clerk upon arrival. Additional information about City Hall accessibility is available here; you can submit a request for accommodations here.
Issue Identification: October 12-17: Councilmembers, and Council Central Staff, can raise issues or potential proposals for consideration; at this stage, proposals don’t need to be detailed; one Councilmember can put an item forward for consideration (with an October 9 deadline at noon)
“Green Sheet” proposals: October 23-25: Specific proposals with dollar amounts to amend the Mayor’s proposed budget will be presented at these meetings; the support of at least three Councilmembers is needed to place an item on the agenda (with a 2 p.m. deadline on October 19)
Revenue update: October 30; Council will receive an updated revenue forecast from the City Budget Office
Proposed Initial Balancing Package: October 31; the Budget Committee Chair will propose a revised version of the budget, that must be balanced
Second Public Hearing: November 1, 5:30 p.m.
Discussion of Potential Changes to Initial Balancing Package: November 7-8; these will be specific changes to the “Initial Balancing Package”; the support of three Councilmembers is required by the 3 p.m. deadline on November 2
Preparation of Revised Balancing Package: November 9-10; Budget Committee Chair will create a second “balancing package,” which must be fully balanced
Committee Votes on Revised Balancing Package: November 14-15; votes will take place at this meeting. Any proposed amendments to the balancing package must be balanced, so any additional spending must be balanced by spending cuts.
The final Full Council vote is scheduled for November 20.
If you have questions about the schedule or process, you can contact my legislative aide, Newell Aldrich, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a link to the schedule.
I’d like to thank the 1,100 people who responded to the Alki Public Safety and Health Survey during the last month, as well as the residents and community leaders who helped to develop the survey. We will be compiling and analyzing the responses, and sharing them with the Seattle Police Department and the community, and include them in this newsletter.
Voters in the Sound Transit district approved the ST3 measure in November, 2015, which included light rail to West Seattle, planned for 2033. Planning for the West Seattle alignment will begin in earnest later this year, with the anticipated hiring of a consultant to manage the process.
The Council adopted a resolution in May, 2016 supporting accelerated delivery of projects. Sound Transit subsequently announced they would accelerate the West Seattle line by three years, to service in 2030 rather than 2033 as originally planned.
The resolution also included language I proposed to allow “for future consideration and evaluation of a potential tunnel alignment through West Seattle, if cost savings within the ST3 program or additional funding resources become available.” Similar language was included regarding the Ballard line.
The resulting timetable for the West Seattle Line could involve utility work as early as 2024, in anticipation of construction beginning in 2025, creating a potential intersection with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project. An early rendering of a potential alignment for light rail showed it moving along Fauntleroy Boulevard in the same location.
Sound Transit released a draft System Expansion Implementation Plan earlier this year, that mentions their Strategic Initiatives, and plan to identify a preferred alternative early in the process.
In recognition of these challenges, I sent a letter to Sound Transit regarding these issues, and recently received a reply. I thank Sound Transit for their responsiveness. Discussions between the City and Sound Transit are ongoing.
The Council passed legislation to release $1.3 million in funds approved in the 2017 adopted budget. The legislation approves funding agreements for projects Town Hall, the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Burke Museum for $350,000 and Hugo House for $250,000. The legislation includes agreements for public benefits with each of those organizations.
- Town Hall will provide its entire Arts and Culture series free of charge to those under age 22, and conduct outreach to make marginalized communities aware of the free tickets, and actively invite such communities to events, and will work with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs on outreach
- Nordic Heritage will implement a new low-cost membership category for low-income families, and work to spread the membership model
- The Burke Museum: will provide all students participating in onsite school programs with an adult and youth admission pass
- Hugo House will provide free or reduced field-trip admission to schools with a majority of low income students, and free weekly drop ins to writing circles, and rent classrooms for free to organizations serving low income communities and communities of color, and up to 150 free tickets to fee-based events.
The proposed 2018 budget includes $1.4 million for the Office of Arts & Culture’s Cultural Facilities Fund; the webpage includes additional information about how to apply, and past recipients, including the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (for Youngstown Arts Center) in 2016, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society in 2015, and ArtsWest in 2014.
Speaking of arts, 2018 applications are open for Neighborhood & Community Arts Grants, which provides $1,200 per year to support direct project expenses, for 2 years, for neighborhood arts council or local community-based group. Groups representing underserved communities including low-income, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities of color are encouraged to apply.
The deadline to apply is October 24. Information about eligibility, evaluation criteria, and how to apply is available here. A workshop will be held at the Southwest branch library (9010 35th Ave SW) on Saturday, September 30, 11:00am-12:30pm